Apple Watch could get blood sugar monitoring thanks to a UK tech deal

The agreement could be a boon for people with diabetes.

Valentina Palladino/Engadget

The longstanding rumors of an Apple Watch with blood sugar monitoring just gained some credibility. The Telegraph and Forbes report that UK health tech firm Rockley Photonics recently confirmed in an SEC filing that Apple has been its largest customer for the past two years, and that it has a continuing deal to develop future products. Rockley's focus has been on sensors that track blood glucose, pressure and even alcohol levels, suggesting that at least one of these features will be available in a future Apple Watch.

Apple's support for people with diabetes has so far been limited to carrying third-party monitors in its stores.

There's no guarantee the Rockley deal will lead to shipping products. Apple hasn't been shy about focusing the Apple Watch on health, however, and there's plenty of industry interest in developing wearable blood sugar sensors that don't require needles. If Apple can build the technology into a mainstream product like the Watch, it could offer an advantage to anyone tired of jabbing themselves to keep their diabetes in check.

Rockley's other technologies could help, too. Blood pressure tracking could alert you to issues like stress, and alcohol monitoring might keep your drinking in moderation. Whether or not that's feasible is another matter. Apple still has to consider factors like battery life and price, and it's entirely possible that you could be waiting a while for all these features (assuming they ever ship) even if the tech is otherwise ready.

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