Word that the new Apple Watch heart rate monitor malfunctions on people with wrist tattoos has irked consumers fond of ink on skin.
The long-awaited Apple Watch has left millions of consumers and reporters around the world waiting for answers. In a statement that has caught the eye of media, Apple issued a statement on its own website saying, “permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”
Funny how some of the very demographic Apple is likely trying to reach with its new watch can’t use it! Could the engineers at Apple HQ not have foreseen this glitch before they FINALLY launched the product?
As a workaround to the tattoo problem, Apple went on to say on its website that “if you’re not able to get a consistent reading because of any of [this] factor, you can connect your Apple Watch wirelessly to external heart rate monitors such as Bluetooth chest straps.”
How can this be?
While Apple has acknowledged the problem on its website, its explanation is far from scientific. The webisphere is full of speculation and some bloggers have even attempted to explain it themselves, saying things like “dark inks, such as red, blue and black, are reportedly more prone to obscuring heart rate readings, given how colors play into the device's sensor system.”
Whether Apple engages further in what is now being described as “Tattoo Gate”, consumers will be left to their own devices (literally) to figure out whether or not they want to wear the gadget, for fear something else will go wrong after they get it home.
Clearly, Apple only found out about the problem after its infamous launch on April 24 when users began posting negative reviews and videos online. Luckily, the heart rate monitor is only one of many functionalities contained in the watch so hopefully no other bodily anomalies will affect its performance.
The nuviun blog is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues in global digital health. The views are solely those of the author.