Apple’s long-rumored “iWatch” smartwatch may include a UV light exposure sensor provided by Texas-based Silicon Labs, according to a new research note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis (via AppleInsider). The digital ultraviolet sensor, which was announced in February, is described by Silicon Labs as “ideal for activity-tracking wrist and arm bands, smart watches and smartphone handsets.” In addition to tracking UV sun exposure, the sensor is also said to track heart/pulse rate and blood oximetry levels and provide proximity and gesture control.
Traditional watch-style iWatch concept by Gábor Balogh
These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be of appealing to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market. To that end, while these products have seen little public hype thus far, we believe SLAB has a win in Apple’s upcoming iWatch (late 2H14 or early 2015).
Past reports have indicated that Apple is preparing to include the ability to monitor a number of health-related metrics in the iWatch such as heart rate, sleep activity, movement, perspiration levels, and skin temperature. Apple is also said to be developing a “Healthbook” app for iOS 8 which would help the iWatch monitor and track health statistics like weight, heart rate, calories and step counts in conjunction with the iPhone.
Over the past year, Apple has also hired a number of health experts in fields related to heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking, including two executives from pulse-oximetry company Masimo and others from C8 MediSensors, a company that develops non-invasive blood monitoring sensors.
While details on the iWatch have been mostly limited, more information on the product is likely to be revealed as the product’s release grows closer. It is unknown when Apple plans to release the iWatch itself, but a fall release date alongside iOS 8 and the next-generation iPhone is likely.