It is considered to be the best smartwatch in the world. And literally a computer on your wrist. But perhaps the biggest benefit of wearing an Apple Watch is the fact that it could save your life. Literally. No, we are not talking in terms of saving your life in terms of showing you a lot of fitness information, or making sure you take your calls even without your phone or control your music and so on…that is all very cool, but while it is handy and sometimes important, it is not exactly life-saving stuff, is it?
But telling you that your heart is beating way too fast? Or letting people know that you have fallen down and are not responding? Now, that is the stuff that literally can save your life. And yes, the Apple Watch can do both. And actually do it very very effectively – it is not just something that you see on a spec sheet.
My heart is beating…a little too fast!
Let’s start with what Apple calls the heart health notifications. These are available on all Apple Watches after and including Series 1. They are of two kinds. The first is high and low heart rate notifications. As the name indicates, these are basically alerts that are sent out when your heart rate stays above or below a certain level for more than ten minutes, even when you are not moving. So basically the watch will not just track your heart rate, but will also check if you are moving or not (heart rates do tend to go up when you are walking or running).
If it senses that you have been relatively stable and your heart rate has still been above a level for more than ten minutes, it will notify you. It is then up to you whether you wish to call in the medics or maybe just take some deep breaths, calm down and de-stress a little.
Am I skipping a beat?
The other heart health notification is for irregular rhythm. The Apple Watch regularly keeps track of the heartbeat patterns of your heart and it alerts you if it spots an irregular rhythm. This is rather important as an irregular heartbeat pattern could be indicative of atrial fibrillation (AFib), which can at times be a serious medical condition. Of course the watch’s alerting you to an irregular rhythm does not mean that you have AFib, but it always helps to know that’;s happening and take medical advice if it is persistent.
The amazing bit about both these features is that they work on the background and will notify you only if they sense if there’s something wrong. You yourself do not have to go and check anything. The Apple Watch will let you know.
Catch my fall…and give an SOS call
Another life saver on the Apple Watch is fall detection, which is available on Apple Watch Series 4 and above. If you happen to fall down heavily, the watch actually vibrates gently on your wrist (it calls it a “tap”) and asks you if you are ok or need to send an emergency SOS. If you do not move for a minute, the watch swings into action and makes an SOS call to emergency services. That is not all, it then sends a message to your emergency contacts with your location and informs them that you seem to have fallen down and emergency services have been called. The watch would get this data from your Medical ID which you would need to fill in anyway. We have seen this feature in phone apps where it sometimes sent out emergency calls by mistake but the Apple Watch seems to handle this feature with almost inch perfection – perhaps all those sensors in the wrist help.
It tells you when your heart is acting funny. It tells your friends when you are literally down and out, and cannot tell them yourself. And it does both seamlessly – all you have to do is activate the features, and they will come into play when they are needed. You do not need to hit any buttons or give any special commands.
Which is why it is perhaps the only mainstream gadget out there that is a real potential life saver.