Apple's smartwatch has dominated the industry ever since it was introduced back in 2016, but despite its ubiquity, the popular wearable still lacks several key features some of its rivals have for years. A sleep monitor is perhaps the most notable of these, but Bloomberg reports that Apple has allowed users to test sleep detection at secret locations around its headquarters in California's Cupertino.
As Bloomberg explains, Apple is carefully testing new health and fitness features for Apple Watch at campus laboratories before even considering rolling them out to the public. If the sleep monitor passes all Apple's tests, the goal is to add it to a future Apple Watch model by 2020, according to sources familiar with Apple's plans.
Whether the feature itself is considered worthy to include in a future Apple Watch, it is a significant obstacle to bringing the feature to life that Apple must solve: Battery Life. While they enjoy Fitbit and Polar lifting days or weeks of activity monitoring, Apple Watch must be charged every night after a full day of use. For lake tracking to become a built-in feature of Apple Watch, it would (at least) have to last through the night. A larger battery would be a solution, or the sleep monitor might be active in low power mode.
Search tracking functionality seems like an obvious add-on for smartwatch, but even though Apple is able to perfect the feature, it is hard to imagine Apple doubling or tripling the Apple Watch's battery life within the next two years. But perhaps the release of the Apple Watch Series 5 this fall will give a hint or two.