While the news has generally been positive around the beta releases for iOS, MacOS, and WatchOS, there is one element that is a bit concerning for those who have the Apple Watch Series 4. The latest beta of WatchOS 5.1, released yesterday, still doesn’t have the software to support the new ECG feature.
To be clear, the physical elements required for the Series 4 to perform an Electrocardiogram are there and have been in every watch that has shipped. The issue is that there is no software app to support it. Apple made it clear that support for the feature would not come with the initial release of the watch. The assumption, however, is that it would be available sometime this year. That, it seems, is less likely now.
It is almost certain now that we won’t see ECG support in WatchOS until we get to 5.1.1 or maybe even 5.2. That would likely take us in the first or second quarter of next year.
For their part, Apple has been moot on the subject. The Series 4 site still indicates that the ECG feature will be coming “later this year” and given this was a hugely touted feature of the new watch, they likely want to get it out as quickly as possible. But, as long time Apple owners know, the company is conservative when it comes to new features and will delay things if they aren’t confident in it. Given the importance of getting accurate ECG results, Apple is going to want to make sure that the feature works solidly before release it.
Hopefully that is still this year but my money is on an early 2019 release at this point.