Apple Watch Series 6 blood oxygen monitor is "unreliable"

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The urge to quickly sell more products continues to eclipse the Jobs-era vision of designing superior products that people will want to own. Tim seems like a nice enough guy, but there’s something to be said for someone who continually innovates as the top priority because they recognize that consumer loyalty will follow, rather than simply chasing the customers’ wallets. It’s frustrating to watch, even as someone who’s never been an Apple fanboy, because for a while there it seemed like they actually had a rare vision of what they could do and be.

F%#@ shareholder value.


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Contrary to what you might think, nobody is holding a gun to the head of consumers forcing them to buy the latest gadget. Those who do have the means to indulge their desire to have the latest whizzy toy will, more often than not, sell the old devices giving those less well off the opportunity to buy something they probably wouldn’t have bought because they couldn’t justify the price.
Others, like me, hold onto their devices until they get to the point where further support is no longer available - I replaced my iPhone 6+ last October with an iPhone 11Max Pro, that 6+ was five years old, the iP11 will probably last another five or six years, maybe longer; the 6+ only had 128Gb of storage, the 11 has 512, more than enough capacity for my entire music library as it stands now, and for the foreseeable future, as I refuse to use any streaming service on moral and idealogical grounds due to the way artists are treated financially.


I’m talking about corporate behavior. For purposes of this post and my comment, I couldn’t care less about consumer behavior, nor do I ascribe a gun-to-the-head purchasing mentality to anyone.

Edited to add: The “latest whizzy toy” is going to get a lot more respect in the market if it lives up to its claims and works reliably. That’s something of which Jobs-era Apple had a fairly solid grasp.


Apple seems to have stopped producing quality products.


That would not be my takeaway from a review that starts off describing it as the best smart watch on the market.


Like all the big tech companies, they are following the devil down this rabbit hole* of big data and machine learning trying to invent useful signal from giant piles of noise. Be extremely skeptical of the claims of being able to monitor detailed internal health things based on infrared sensors through your skin. It’s a fundamentally flawed idea that these low resolution, low quality sensors can pull out tiny signals if you just throw enough machine learning at them.

*apologies for that metaphor. What am I even doing.


Even medical-grade oxygen monitors are often “unreliable.” Blood oxygen measurements fluctuate and movement where the sensor is located will throw them off.


Personally I can’t imagine worrying enough about my blood oxygen level to constantly monitor it. It’s a novelty to me, at least as long as I’m reasonably healthy.

Can you hold your breath and watch the percentage drop in realtime? That would be fun. Maybe watch it on an airplane trip to see if the old conspiracy theories about airliners reducing the O2 levels in the cabin to make passengers sleepy and docile has any merit. Maybe eyeball it from time to time if I’m visiting Cusco or some other city at high altitude? It’s a toy to me.

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The sensors would probably work better if they burrowed under your skin. Like maybe some sort of spring-loaded needle array that could get right in there to the blood flow itself.

This would also keep the watch from slipping around on your wrist.


The wrist based blood pressure monitors, no-name no-touch optical thermometers and finger tip self contained pulse oximeter devices used in many health care settings that hopefully exclude critical care and ambulances are also unreliable. Any device for measurement that does not provide an opportunity for calibration and testing is unreliable as a core design fault.


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