New Apple smartwatch boasts ECG function, fall detection

SAN FRANCISCO, USA – Apple unveiled a redesigned smartwatch on Wednesday as the California tech giant said it was nearing its two billionth device for its mobile operating system.

"We are about to hit a major milestone, we are about to ship our 2 billionth iOS device," Apple chief executive Tim Cook said as he opened a media event expected to unveil a new lineup of iPhones.

"This is astonishing, iOS has changed the way we live."

Cook said that with its fourth generation of the market-leading smartwatch, "we're going to take Apple Watch to the next level."

Chief operating officer Jeff Williams said that "everything about (Apple Watch) has been redesigned."

He added that its screen is "over 30% larger" than the previous generation.

One of the new features enables the watch to detect when a person falls, important for elderly users.

"Fall detection is a feature we hope you never need, but it's really nice to know it's there," Williams said.

The watch, intially to be sold in the United States from $399 and up, will be available in stores on September 21.

"Apple Watch has become an intelligent guardian for your health," chief operating officer Jeff Williams said.

He highlighted a major innovation – the watch's ability to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG). ECG is a diagnostic tool that may reveal potential heart ailments in a person. 

"This is the first ECG product offered over the counter directly to consumers," he said.

Though Apple said that theirs was the first ECG-equipped watch in the world, Asus' VivoWatch revealed in June also had an ECG scanner. 

"Now you can take an ECG any time, anywhere, right from the wrist." – Rappler.com