This week saw another rumor of Apple Watch Series 4, a curious software bug in Fitbit’s phone app that’s draining users’ data, and some smartwatch wearers who are monitoring their heart rate while taking recreational drugs. All part of the week in wearable news.
The Week in Wearables is a news digest, out each week, focused on some of the things that have happened in the world of tech you can wear on your wrist, perch on your head, stick in your ear, sling around your waist, tuck into the small of your back or, well, you get the idea.
New Rumor Suggests Apple Watch Series 4 Screen Size
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s latest predictions include exactly what size the display on the upcoming Apple Watch will be.
The current Watch models have 1.337in and 1.534in displays on the smaller and larger Watches respectively.
Kuo is saying that this fall the display sizes will be 1.57in and 1.78in. As you’ll have spotted, this means the screen on the predicted smaller Watch will now be bigger than on the current larger one!
I know several people who feel the smaller size Watch is quite big enough, thank you very much, who will be delighted with the extra screen real estate the new Watch will deliver.
Me? I like the size of the 42mm model so a bigger display in that size would be just tremendous.
Read more at Forbes, where you’ll also read Kuo’s predictions for the next iPad Pro.
Fitbit App Drains Cellular Data
Paul Lamkin reported on a bug in the Fitbit smartphone app which is eating up users’ phone data.
The problem was first reported by Fitbit users on Twitter, and over on the San Francisco company’s forums last week and, although a bug fix has already been rolled out, people are still complaining that the issue is affecting them. There are reports that as much as 3.5GB of unexplained mobile data has been swallowed up in the first few days of July – along with a significant extra battery use.
Fitbit first acknowledged the problem last week when it stated on Twitter:
“We’re working to resolve an issue which is causing the Fitbit app for Android to consume a larger amount of mobile data, and/or increased battery drain on mobile devices. Uninstalling/re-installing the Fitbit app may help resolve related loading and crashing issues.”
Read more, here on Forbes.
Samsung Smartwatch Incoming
Samsung’s smartwatch line grows each year, usually with new models announced at the electronics trade show IFA, held in Berlin. This year it’s August 31 to September 5.
Wareable’s Conor Allison has been rounding up the rumors of what to expect…
How will Samsung top things next time around? Well, the Gear S4 (or Galaxy Watch, as is now likely) appears to be just around the corner, and below we’ve explored what it could look like and what features users may potentially have on their wrist when it arrives.
Earlier this year, Samsung announced mass production of its Exynos 7 Dual 7270 chipset, which is likely to power its next generation of wearables. It packs a lot of guts, including a 4G LTE modem (which didn’t feature in the Sport), into a smaller package than is currently on offer. We expect it to feature on this year’s device.
So we’ve seen Samsung phones with curved screens, but will the S4 be next in line to get the edge treatment? Well, it’s extremely unlikely, given what we’ve heard, but a patent filed suggests that it could be in a future version of the smartwatch.
Read more at Wareable.
Buzz Wearable Aims To Stop Sexual Assault
According to Dezeen, a new bracelet aims to address issues of sexual assault by increasing a user’s capacity to consent.
New Deal Design’s Buzz wearable is a sensor-enhanced bracelet that monitors a person’s capacity to consent, and shares that information with their date or friends.
To design the product, the studio worked with specialist Jennifer Lang, a gynaecologist with a background in assisting victims of sexual assault, and her business partner Robert Kramer.
The duo had seen that there was a high correlation between incidences of sexual assault and heavy drinking on US college campuses, and thought that could form the basis for a new preventative technology.
“They came up with this idea that maybe we could tie it all together and create some kind of alert system,” New Deal Design head Gadi Amit told Dezeen. “We took it to the next level.”
“We wanted the system to intervene a lot earlier in the story of the night and create a positive tool for partners to start having a discussion about capacity to consent a lot earlier.”
Buzz is designed with college and older high-school students in mind. The device focuses on blood-alcohol level because, of all the complex factors around sex and consent, drunkenness and its effect on the capacity to consent are the easiest to quantify.
Read more at Dezeen.
Recreational drug users are monitoring their heart rates using a Fitbit or Apple Watch, according to CNBC.
At a bachelor party two years ago in South Lake Tahoe, California, a tech worker who we’ll call Owen glanced down at his Fitbit in between snorting lines of cocaine. He noticed his heart rake had spiked to 150, an abnormally high level considering he’d been sitting for hours.
“My heart rate only gets to 150 if I’m running, like really intense physical activity,” said Owen, who agreed to share his story on condition that we not use his real name. “If I’m in a really stressful work meeting, I might get close to 100 or 120.”
Owen had been indulging every 15 minutes or so, taking turns with his friends, as is customary with his group. Concerned about his elevated heart rate, he passed his Fitbit to someone who had just entered the room to see what would happen after his first line of cocaine. Sure enough, his friend’s heart rate went from around 80 beforehand to 150 about 20 minutes later.
“I think we all knew it would have an impact on our heart rate, but we’d never seen it happen before,” Owen said. “It became interesting to keep an eye on.”
This does not reduce risk, please note:
Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist and associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said heart rhythm and blood pressure are also impacted by cocaine use and aren’t currently trackable by most consumer smart devices. Even most heart rate monitors aren’t foolproof. Many studies in recent years have found that popular heart rate trackers are less accurate than a standard chest strap.
“Taking drugs is always a risk, whether you’re monitoring a tracker or not,” Weiss said. “It’s possible this is leading people to do more cocaine.”
Read more at CNBC.
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