Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why doesn’t the new Apple watch work right?” you ask? Good question . . . timely-ha!- too. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why doesn’t Apple just come out with a vaginal thermometer too?” Actually, they’re working on that. Gals can see if it’s a good time to get knocked up, browse Tinder for an unknowing donor and watch Netflix at the same time.)
The Apple Watch, which officially debuted just last month, is presenting problems for peeps with tattoos. (Pretty sure we told you that you might want to wait before buying one. Still, for those readers who did not take the sage wisdom of your curmudgeonly columnist to heart, let’s find an answer for you.)
As the lovely Hayley Tsukayama of The Washington Post put it: “It’s official: the Apple Watch just doesn’t play well with tattoos. The Apple Watch, like your grandmother, has a problem with your tattoos.”
(It’s a sensor issue. Gotta be.)
Consumer tech tootsie Tsukayama notes that the updated Apple support page posting confirms that “some tattoos” impact the heart rate sensor performance. (See?) It also confirms that “darker, more solid tattoos cause the most interference.”
She says the Apple also “confirms that the problems occur because the light-based technology Apple uses to measure your heart rate. Apple measures blood flow in part by shining green light — which your red blood absorbs — into your wrist. It then calculates your pulse by tracking how much of that light gets absorbed. But, it seems, the light can have problems getting through tattoo ink to get an accurate reading.”
According to customer Michael Lovell who posted a YouTube video about the issue, because of the watch’s vulnerability to tattoo ink, heart rate readings just might be “all over the place.”
It may also constantly ask “for the passcode” because it thinks it has lost “contact with the skin” like when the watch is “being stolen from your wrist.”
Some tech experts had been suggesting months ago that there may be some technical issue with the health-related workings of the watch but apparently at least one of our readers missed our reporting of this concern.
We don’t really need all the experts today though. It’s so simple your grandfather could have clued you in, boys and girls. Dick Tracy didn’t have tattoos. (Google if you must.)
It’s due to a “first year bug”. (Didn’t your Dad ever tell you not to ever blindly buy a “first year” car?)
They didn’t think to test its compatibility (or lack thereof) with tattoo ink, or other temporary or even permanent changes to the user’s skin. Hence, the problem.
Yes, Apple has a “patch” to “fix” things but for what you paid for it—and the supposed selling point of being able to keep track of your fitness stats–is that really satisfactory?
Why doesn’t the new Apple watch work right? Now you know.
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