Yesterday Apple released watchOS 5.2, lagging just a couple days behind iOS 12.2. For users in the United States, there isn’t much worth noting about this latest Watch update, but it’s a different story around the world. Apple’s press release highlights the health-related features it brings support for:
The ECG app on Apple Watch Series 4, a direct-to-consumer product that enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, is available in Hong Kong and 19 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. In addition to receiving De Novo clearance in the US from the FDA, the ECG app and irregular rhythm notification are now CE marked and cleared in the European Economic Area.
The ECG app is limited to Apple Watch Series 4, while users of the Series 1 or later will benefit from the irregular rhythm notification, a feature that requires first opening the iPhone’s Health app to enable it.
Countries that now support the ECG app: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, US and US Virgin Islands.
Apple can often launch a feature or service in the US, then be extremely slow to roll it out elsewhere (see: Apple News). For health features like these though, I think it’s particularly important for Apple to prioritize global expansion, despite the huge amount of red tape that must be worked through. Access to a new media service like Apple News or TV is nice, but the work being done with Apple Watch has the potential to be life-changing. I hope we continue to see these features spread as far and wide as possible.