Canucks won’t have to sit on the sidelines while their Apple Watch-toting friends in the US, Europe and Hong Kong perform electrocardiograms.
Apple has confirmed that it’s bringing the Watch Series 4’s ECG app and irregular heart rhythm detection to Canada “as quickly as possible” following an approval by Health Canada on May 16th. While the company hasn’t narrowed down a time frame, the most likely candidates for a debut are either watchOS 5.3 (which entered beta testing in mid-May) or the expected watchOS 6 release in September.
Apple has so far been content to bring the feature to more countries through minor software updates, like watchOS 5.2 in March and 5.2.1 earlier in May.
The technology typically requires approval on a country-by-country basis due to the medical implications. It’s meant to detect atrial fibrillation, and officials typically want to ensure that it’s providing a sufficiently accurate reading. Apple and others have stressed that the Watch’s ECG app isn’t a substitute for a professional diagnosis with a multi-lead ECG — it just serves as an alert that could prompt a doctor’s visit.