Would you trust the Apple Watch to save your life?
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Would you trust the Apple Watch to save your life?

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When the Apple Watch was first released in 2015, the world took one more step towards never having to part with technology. But after Apple's September Showcase, the company shifted focus from the convenience of the Apple Watch to its potential benefits in health and wellness. With groundbreaking FDA approval, the Apple Watch Series 4 can now monitor users' heartbeats. But given the fickle nature of new tech, the watch's features could just as easily fail customers as it could protect them. Would you trust it? 

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These are the first major updates the Apple Watch has seen since its initial release, and they have a clear focus: health and wellness. The new Apple Watch has FDA approval for its electrocardiogram app, which will be able to tell users if they have a normal or irregular heartbeat. And it doesn't stop there: the watch will also be able to detect and alert users of a low heart rate and help them call 911 if they've fallen (yes, this does bear great resemblance to Life Alert, just way cooler).

Apple also seems to be covering its bases when it comes to protecting users' health data. Gizmodo's Ed Cara reports: 

The data from these readings, according to Apple, will be encrypted, allowing users to only share them willingly via a PDF, including with their doctors.

Although Apple announced that the Series 4 will feature an 18-hour battery life, if users did find themselves in emergency situations and dependent upon the watch for help, a low battery might be the difference between life and death. If Apple is pushing customers to use this technology to save lives, the technology itself should be the most durable and dependable available. 

By contrast, a FitBit's battery lasts up to 7 days. An Apple Watch with this standard would be a different beast entirely. 

But imagine this scenario: Beloved grandma is walking up the the stairs of her home where she lives alone. She slips and lands roughly on the stairs in front of her. She can't get up, and has no hope of visitors for the rest of the day. 

If Grandma has the new Apple Watch on, the fall will be detected, an alert will appear, and a single tap will call for emergency services. And if the fall is so bad that Grandma can't tap her watch, emergency services will be summoned after 60 seconds of inactivity. 

In 2017, CNBC reported that Apple was even in talks with the major insurance company, Aetna, to make smart watches more accessible to the masses. 

With this in mind, it surely wouldn't hurt to have the device, even as a just-in-case measure. 

Any advancement comes with risks. CNBC looks to assistant professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division at Stanford, Patricia K. Nguyen, for insight. Nguyen has a number of concerns she'd like addressed before fully buying into the Series 4, namely how the watch will compare to the "gold standard" in electrocardiogram technology, the Zio Patch. CNBC sums up Nguyen's concerns: 

Apple will need to prove to the medical community through studies...that it won't deliver an abnormally high rate of false positives (people who think they have a condition when they don't) and false negatives (people who think they're fine when they're not).
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