New Apple Watch Series 8 to offer women fertility tracking technology to predict ovulation

The company also addressed privacy concerns, saying data protection is 'at the core' of the new feature

The temperature-sensing capabilities in the Apple Watch Series 8 give female users retrospective ovulation estimates. Photo: Apple
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Apple is strengthening its commitment to women’s health with its new Series 8 Apple Watch, which will have integrated fertility features allowing users to track ovulation.

It is one of several new technology updates the company provided at its Far Out event, which was held at its headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The device has a new sensor that can track women’s body temperature at night — one of the most reliable ways to predict ovulation — by taking and storing a digital reading every five seconds.

Apple described the new feature as part of its stronger “commitment to women’s health”, which will encourage its customers to have more control and information over their bodies and reproductive health.

The basal body temperature tracking feature will allow Apple’s technology to offer a retrospective ovulation estimate using its readings. Watch wearers will then be sent automatic alerts predicting fertility windows and menstruation cycles, which can then be used to help with family planning.

And, the new sensor technology could also help alert users to other health concerns, as body temperature can be an indicator of several broader issues.

Apple stressed that privacy was “at the core” of its detailed fertility features, with users’ data only stored locally on devices — something that could be of concern to American users following the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade in June, paving the way for several US states to make abortion illegal.

Following the decision, several cycle tracking apps have strengthened their data privacy, as users become increasingly wary of sharing their personal health information.

New with iOS 16 and watchOS 9, Cycle Tracking can now send notifications if a user’s logged cycle history shows a possible deviation, including irregular, infrequent, or prolonged periods. Photo: Apple

Apple described data security and privacy as a "fundamental human right" during Wednesday’s event, and said users would retain control of their fertility data via default two-factor authentication, strong passcodes and end-to-end encryption for iCloud storage.

"Your health data is yours and yours alone," the company said.

The company says the new smartwatch is waterproof, dust-proof and crack-resistant. It has sleep tracking features and can monitor electrocardiography and blood oxygen levels.

It will also come with vehicle crash detection features, which connects users with emergency services if necessary.

The new watch will come with low power mode to offer about 36 hours of battery life on a full charge. It will be available in four colours, the company said.

It will start at $399 with GPS and $499 with cellular.

Consumers can start ordering today and it will be available from September 16.

Apple also launched its iPhone 14 series on Wednesday, which comes with satellite technology. Additionally, in the case of the iPhone 14 Pro, the new A16 bionic chip is included, which Apple claims is the fastest chip in a smartphone.

The series will include the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, as well as the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone Pro will come with a 6.1-inch screen, while the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max will have 6.7-inch displays.

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Updated: September 08, 2022, 12:57 PM
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