Apple Watch Sleep Detection Enters New Phase

On September 12th, 2022, Apple launched the newest operating system for their smartwatch technology, watchOS 9. While the previous system, watchOS 8, allowed users to track the duration of their sleep, the new operating system features the ability to estimate and track the sleep phases of a user by analyzing biometric data like heart rate and breathing patterns. Watches with watchOS 9 will display a breakdown of user sleep phases, including REM, Core, and Deep sleep. Additionally, the watch displays a comparison chart to show time spent in each phase of sleep alongside the user’s biometric data. Apple currently holds several domestic patent assets related to this health monitoring  technology, including U.S. Pat. No. 10,512,432 and U.S. Pat. No. 11,107,580.

As the operating system develops and new features emerge, Apple will be looking to incorporate new sensing technology into their sleep tracking. Apple’s patented technology for body temperature sensing, U.S. Pat. No. 11,408,778, is incorporated into the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. It would be no surprise to see an update of the watchOS 9 in the near future which estimates a user’s ideal sleep temperature or environment for deeper sleep. The next step for Apple will be an attempt to patent the use of their oxygen saturation sensors ( U.S. Pat. No. 11,430,571) to develop a system for detecting and monitoring health conditions associated with sleep.