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(Pocket-lint) - Apple is allegedly researching with teams from the University of California, Los Angeles, on how the iPhone and Apple Watch can help detect the early warning signs of a user’s cognitive decline, or even so far as determining if they have depression, according to an exclusive paywalled report by The Wall Street Journal

The information would be sourced by a myriad of individual user data collected on iOS devices, including sleep tracking, activity levels and mobility, typing patterns, dietary information, and more. The hope is to determine if a cocktail of different behaviour can reliably be formulated together to create a consistent algorithm accurate enough to notify users of their potential ill mental health. 

Apple has spent years developing the Apple Watch into a health and fitness centrepiece, and each year the continual addition of more bodily tracking functionalities and wellness features indicate that the company has ambitious plans ahead to take the Apple Watch’s abilities to the next level. 

While of course, a future iPhone or Apple Watch won’t be able to provide anyone with an official medical diagnosis on their mental health, having an extra advocate on the wrist to keep users aware of their behavioural patterns and how it may be impacting them would surely be beneficial to nearly everyone. 

This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has tried to experiment in using the health tracking features of their devices to “guesstimate” a users condition. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple began researching with the University of Washington School of Medicine to see if there was any correlation to the health data collected on the Apple Watch with wearers who ended up testing positive for the virus - hoping to ultimately be able to send out an early warning signal to users who have a good chance of having caught COVID without showing any visible symptoms yet. 

At the company’s latest hardware event, Apple announced that the newest Apple Watch Series 7 would feature more advanced sleep-tracking tech, with the goal of more users actually wearing their Watch to bed each and every night. 

For Pocket-lint’s recap of the Apple Watch Series 7, click here

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Writing by Alex Allegro. Originally published on 23 September 2021.
  • Source: Apple Is Working on iPhone Features to Help Detect Depression, Cognitive Decline - wsj.com
Sections Smartwatches