It used to be that a watch was used to tell time. Sure, there were the occasional chronographic trimmings, but mostly, it was supposed to inform the user of the hour, the date. Then, companies added more bells and whistles to the wrist implement. They made it able to count your steps; help you navigate; track your heartbeat... the list goes on. And now the watch has grown beyond the initial scope of a timepiece. 

These days, we refer to it as a smartwatch and it’s changing the way we monitor our health. Because it’s unobtrusive and in contact with our skin for most of our day, it can collate a host of information about our bodies that we have no idea that it’s giving out. For example, when a feature was able to track one’s heart rate, I didn’t quite understand how it worked. Does the smartwatch pick up the slight throbs from the wrist? It was a year later that I found out that it measures heart rate using the flashing green LED light emitted on the rear of the smartwatch. It’s called photoplethysmography and it gets a reading of the heart rate by how much green light is absorbed by the red blood cells as the blood vessels expand and contract. Expanded blood vessels takes in more green light; contracted blood vessels absorb less. #nowyouknow. 

Another feature that seems almost like magic (props to Arthur C Clarke) is sleep tracking. Usually, in a sleep study, you’re hooked up to a polysomnograph via electrodes to record your EEG (electroencephalogram), ECG (electrocardiogram), EOG (electrooculography) and EMG (electromyography) readings. A smartwatch doesn’t have electrodes so, instead, it relies on the watch’s accelerometers to measure how many movements you make during sleep.

These are the big two features that all smartwatch users are familiar with but they are just the tip of the iceberg, especially when it comes to the Apple Watch, which has a slew more attributes that the majority tend to overlook. While records of your heart rate and your sleep patterns are fine, the more information that the Apple Watch collates (balance; oxygen in the blood; mental state), the clearer the picture of your state of health that comes to the fore. 

We discovered more things that the Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 can do at the recent Apple Health Summit. 

Apples Watches in a Pink Sports Loop strap and a Pacific Blue Magnetic Link strap.


Any data that the Apple Watch collects is not shared with Apple or any third party, that was stressed no less than three times during our session with Apple. Tim Cook was adamant about Apple’s stance on privacy, which it believes is a “fundamental human right”. But if you want to, you can share your crucial health data with your family members or caregivers who are also Apple users. Info like high heart rate alerts, irregular rhythm notifications will keep your inner circle in the know so that they can check in on you. 


When it comes to longevity in health, mobility ranks high on the list. Think about it: when you start to feel painand strain from even the most basic task like walking, your quality of life dips. In fact, the act of walking can be a key indicator of any injury, it is also the representation of one’s ability to age with independence. The Mobility Metrics measures your walking performance—the speed; step length; asymmetry—from the results you can ascertain where you place mobility-wise.

While the accelerator on the smartwatch alone is enough to measure your strides, the Mobility Metrics work better when you also have your Apple iPhone holstered at your waist. With a secondary accelerometer, you’ll get a more accurate reading of your walking state. 



When our smartphones become more ubiquitous, it’s inevitable that the majority of our lives will be spent in front of screens. Excessive screen time strains the eyes and leaves them dry. Worst-case scenario: you’ll get retina damage and blurred vision. Myopia is another leading cause of vision impairment, especially for children since the risk of myopia rises when they don’t spend time outdoors and the distance between their peepers and screen are not at a respectable distance away from each other. 

Here’s where Apple safeguards your vision health. You can view the amount of time spent in daylight thanks to your Apple Watch, which measures time spent in daylight using an ambient light sensor. Going out to bathe in the sun rays is encouraged as it boosts immunity; hones your circadian rhythm so that you can sleep better; fights off depression, among a host of benefits. 

You can also program your iPhone to switch on the Screen Distance feature. It uses the TrueDepth camera and alerts you if it senses that your face is too close. 


Your physical appearance may be up to par but what’s on the inside counts, especially, inside your head. We’re not talking about therapy; that requires finesse... hell, even a human touch. No, when it comes to your mental well-being, the Apple Watch is forcing you to slow down. 

Now this was the hardest feature to adopt. Having lived out most of my adult life in the rat race, I’m encouraged to stop and smell the roses. The Mindfulness app in watchOS 10 engages you to catalogue how you feel at the moment. It sounds like blogging but the Mindfulness nudges you into identifying what led you to your current state. With these insights, you can better manage your overall mental health, which is much needed in today’s fast-paced world.

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) conference occurred early this morning. And while the event is geared towards developers on the latest software releases, there were a few hardware announcements as well. Plus, it doesn't hurt for the rest of us non-developers to be privy to what the tech brand has on its upcoming slate. Here are some takeaways from the keynote:

Vision Pro

Throwing its hat into the mixed reality ring, Apple introduces the Vision Pro headset. This was the keystone's marquee piece that can do all the things you can do on your iPhone—answer calls; FaceTime; open e-mails; watch movies, browse the Internet... but in a mixed-reality landscape. It's Apple's answer to spatial computing, where apps come alive in your own personal space. Alas, it looks like you look like you're going snowboarding and given the external two-hour battery life, this device is clearly meant for indoors. There's also the issue of the price tag (US$3,499!) that many might baulk at. May the Vision Pro do what previous mixed reality predecessors (Google Glass; Oculus) have failed to do: be relevant.

watchOS 10

Next year, Apple Watch users can expect an upgrade for its iWatch. Users can expect updates to their Apple Watch experience like being able to add widgets to their smart stack; new apps; more utility with the digital crown, which showcases various widgets and new full-screen displays. The software update has your health covered, thanks to a focus on your mental well-being, determining if there's a safe distance between your screen and your eyes and getting you to spend time under the sun.

15" MacBook Air

The MacBook Air has always come in 13" for the longest time because it needed to live up to the lightness of the 'Air' part of its name. The 15" promises to remain lightweight while giving you a bigger display to work off from. Weighing slightly over 1.3kg and comes with an M2 chipset, the 15" MacBook Air is due to launch on 13 June.

macOS Sonoma

With a new MacBook Air on the way, why not a new OS update? Named after California's famed wine country, users can expect a bunch of upgraded features like the Game Mode function. This directs processing power to your games on the CPU and GPU of your Mac and lowers your background tasks' usage. Expect reduced latency with your wireless accessories, consistent frame rates and better responsiveness.

Gone are the flying toasters and forever-extending pipes from hell but the OS update grants you a more contemplative feel with the screensaver mode. There are new slow-motion screensavers depicting places of grandeur that aren't your drab office space.

Video conferencing will take on a more intuitive approach. Its Presenter Overlay keeps the spotlight on you with your screen framed next to you on a separate layer; this allows you to move in front of your content. Move You can move, walk, and talk in front of your content. If you want to look like a disembodied floating head, you can use the small overlay to appear in a movable bubble over your shared screen. Move yourself around the screen and make a spooky moaning sound during your presentation. Go on. Do it. Be the life of the office.

iOS 17

Another OS update, this time for your iPhone and it'll affect your phone, FaceTime and Messages apps. Calling for Siri will be twice as fast... when the update drops the 'Hey' from 'Hey, Siri'. The update will add more personality to your iPhone as you can customise your contact posters using either photos or Memoji. Call your friends and let them see you want yourself to be seen.

Live transcription in real-time for phone voicemails is also on the cards. As well as, this cool feature that allows you to share contacts, music or other shared activities with another iPhone user when the two of you bump your iPhones or Apple Watches together.

For more information on WWDC 2023, check out the Apple website.