Home / News / What to Expect From Smartwatches in 2024: More AI, New Health Features and More

What to Expect From Smartwatches in 2024: More AI, New Health Features and More

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Google Pixel Watch 2

Smartwatches already provide more health and wellness statistics than most people probably need, from telling you how well you slept last night to whether your body temperature fluctuated. But in 2024, tech giants like Apple, Samsung and Google are expected to take health tracking even further. 

A combination of new metrics and AI-powered tools for parsing wellness data could make smartwatches more sophisticated as health assistants. Apple, for example, is reportedly developing Apple Watch features for monitoring conditions like sleep apnea and high blood pressure, while Google’s Fitbit is experimenting with using generative AI to answer questions about your athletic performance.

Read more: Best Smartwatches for 2024

AI isn’t new to smartwatches, but the technology is expected to show up in a major way this year thanks to rapid advancements in generative AI, which has become the tech industry’s new obsession. Generative AI, the flavor of AI that powers ChatGPT, can create content or responses when prompted after being trained on data. The technology made its way to search engines, productivity tools and smartphones in 2023, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it play a bigger role in smartwatches next.

Here’s how smartwatches are expected to change in 2024 based on reports, leaks and the general product direction and strategy we’ve seen from companies like Apple, Google and Samsung. In addition to more AI and new wellness features, we also expect to see improved designs and fresh competition from new health wearables that fit around your finger. 

More AI, especially for health tracking

Google Pixel Watch 2

The Pixel Watch 2.

James Martin/CNET

Expect smartwatches to get an AI boost in 2024 across both Android and iOS. Google-owned Fitbit has been the most vocal about its plans for bringing generative AI to its health trackers, which now includes the Pixel Watch

Fitbit is launching a new program called Fitbit Labs this year, which will use generative AI to answer questions and provide more context about your activity data. The Labs feature, for example, would allow you to ask the Fitbit app why your run felt more difficult one day than another. The company also hopes it can use generative AI to help people set realistic fitness goals based on their individual performance, Ajay Surie, group product manager at Google, said to CNET.

AI run and exercise analysis AI run and exercise analysis

An example of the type of information Fitbit Labs could provide, shown during Google’s October event.

Screenshot/CNET

Apple is already using AI to assist with health tracking, as evidenced by Siri’s ability to answer health-related questions on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. But according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is also working on a digital health coach that will leverage Apple Watch data to provide advice and insights. It’s unclear when this health coach would launch, but CEO Tim Cook hinted that more AI-related announcements are to come in 2024.

“As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in these and other technologies that will shape the future,” Cook recently said during Apple’s fiscal first quarter earnings call in reference to the Vision Pro headset, according to a transcript published on the finance website Seeking Alpha. “That includes artificial intelligence where we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we’re excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year.”

The Apple Watch Series 9 The Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Samsung drew attention to its AI efforts in January with the launch of its Galaxy S24 lineup, which are the company’s first phones to support Galaxy AI. So far, these new Galaxy AI features span everything from photo editing to summarizing notes and language translation.

We don’t know exactly what Samsung’s AI-focused direction means for future Galaxy Watches just yet. But comments from Samsung executives suggest the company is indeed thinking about bringing more AI features to its smartwatch line.

Read more: Apple Watch X: Biggest Changes I Want to See on Apple’s Next Watch

Won-Joon Choi, executive vice president and head of the research and development office for Samsung’s mobile experience business, said the company is looking at how to apply AI to wearables when talking to CNET in January. And when asked whether Samsung is considering creating some type of digital assistant for helping users navigate health data, Samsung’s Hon Pak said it’s something the company has thought about.

“We think the concept of a digital system that helps you to navigate and understand the context and navigate them to solutions are going to be necessary,” Pak, vice president and head of the digital health team for the mobile experience business at Samsung Electronics, said in a previous CNET interview. “And what form factor that’s going to be is to be determined. And it may vary based on person to person, right? Some people just probably want audio; some people want a video on the TV.”

New health metrics and insights

The underside of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 The underside of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

The underside of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

James Martin/CNET

Smartwatches are already stuffed with sensors for measuring bodily signals such as heart rate, temperature and blood oxygen. If rumors and reports are to be believed, tech companies will find new ways to put those sensors to use in 2024 by providing more statistics and takeaways.

Apple is said to be adding tools for keeping tabs on blood pressure and checking for sleep apnea in its next Apple Watch, according to Bloomberg. The new feature would be able to show when a person’s blood pressure may be elevated, says the report, which also notes that Apple is working on a version with more precise readings. 

Samsung is also expanding its health-tracking capabilities — the Galaxy Watch just got FDA approval for sleep-apnea detection, for one thing. But the tech giant also teased that more updates are coming later this year in the form of two new features: My Vitality Score and Booster Cards. The first is a bit like the readiness scores we’ve seen from Oura, Garmin and Google’s Fitbit; it evaluates your physical and mental state based on factors like activity, sleep, resting heart rate and heart rate variability. Booster Cards, meanwhile, are tidbits in the Samsung Health app that are meant to provide more context around your health readings. Companies like Oura and Garmin already offer similar pieces of advice. 

One of Google’s major long-term Fitbit and Pixel Watch product goals is to make it easier to make lifestyle changes based on data from your smartwatch, according to Surie. Although it’s unclear how, when or if that ambition will surface in new Fitbit metrics and insights, it provides some context on the company’s direction for future features. Surie spoke broadly about how the company views this approach when it comes to stress tracking in particular.

“What I hope we’ll be able to do is help you with your day to day if we know your stress level,” he said. “Whether it’s doing a workout, or going to an important meeting, we hope that Fitbit can be the place you come to get the right preparation, and we can give you the guidance to be prepared for those activities.”

Design improvements

Apple Watch Ultra Apple Watch Ultra

Apple significantly changed the Apple Watch’s design in 2022 with the first Apple Watch Ultra, which has a notably larger screen and more durable design than Apple’s mainline watches. 

James Martin/CNET

Design isn’t always the most important characteristic of a new tech product. But smartwatches are the exception given their placement on your wrist. Based on reports that have surfaced so far, it sounds like new smartwatches in 2024 will see some notable steps forward in the style department.

Apple is said to be revamping the Apple Watch for its tenth anniversary with a thinner design and new magnetic bands, according to Bloomberg. Google, meanwhile, is said to be working on two size options for the Pixel Watch 3, says 9to5Google, which would mark an upgrade from the current single choice available for the Pixel Watch 2.

More competition from smart rings

Samsung Ring at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024 Samsung Ring at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2024

Samsung teased its upcoming Galaxy Ring at its Unpacked event in January. 

Screenshot/CNET

Smart rings have existed for years, but they’re in the spotlight in 2024 thanks to Samsung’s recently announced Galaxy Ring and other similar rings shown at CES 2024. While smart rings can’t replicate most of the functionality of your smartwatch, they might be a tempting choice for those interested in health tracking that want a simpler, more minimalist alternative.

“The idea behind such rings is not so much about being cheaper than smartwatches, but instead being a much smaller and discrete device for use cases like sleep tracking,” Bryan Ma, VP of devices research at International Data Corporation, said to my colleague David Lumb.

That means smartwatch makers may have to work harder to appeal to fitness enthusiasts who aren’t interested in wearing a second screen on their wrist. It reminds me of early fitness bands from a decade ago like the Jawbone Up and Misfit Shine, which were created to put simple, stylish and screenless health trackers on your wrist.   

Smartwatches, like smartphones, tend to take incremental steps forward year-over-year, usually gaining new sensors, design tweaks and fresh processors. That’s likely to be the case again in 2024, although the steps companies like Apple, Samsung and Google take to further embed AI into their wearables could set the stage for bigger changes down the line. 

Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.

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The bezel is back on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and we’re very pleased.

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The bezel is back on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and we’re very pleased.

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The bezel is back on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and we’re very pleased.

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The bezel is back on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic and we’re very pleased.

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This is the 43mm Classic with the hybrid leather band.

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This is the 43mm Classic with the hybrid leather band.

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This is the 43mm Classic with the hybrid leather band.

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Both versions of the Galaxy Watch 6 run Wear OS 4 and that brings a few new watch faces, like this stretch face.

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Both versions of the Galaxy Watch 6 run Wear OS 4 and that brings a few new watch faces, like this stretch face.

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Both versions of the Galaxy Watch 6 run Wear OS 4 and that brings a few new watch faces, like this stretch face.

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Both versions of the Galaxy Watch 6 run Wear OS 4 and that brings a few new watch faces, like this stretch face.

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Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Gallery: Details Up Close

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