"We've added electrodes into the back sapphire crystal and the digital crown, allowing you to take an electrocardiogram," explained Apple COO Jeff Williams, during an announcement of the new functionality, among other upgrades, at Apple's headquarters, Wired reports. "This is the first EKG product offered over the counter, directly to consumers."
The FDA worked closely with Apple as they developed and tested the two apps that enable the wearable to detect heart rhythms.
"One app creates an electrocardiogram, similar to traditional electrocardiograms, to detect the presence of atrial fibrillation and regular heart rhythm, while the other app analyzes pulse rate data to identify irregular heart rhythms suggestive of atrial fibrillation and notify the user," says FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. He adds that having these healthcare products on devices like smartwatches "may help users seek treatment earlier and will truly empower them with more information about their health."