May 1, 2015

How hard is it to find a dark wrist anyway

Quartz is treading on thin ice with this piece, claiming that the Apple Watch might not work as well on dark skin, as well as on tattoos.

While those with tattooed wrists may experience some issues, there’s also the possibility that the watch will not work as intended for a much larger group of potential watch buyers: those with darker skin. LeBoeuf says that green light is more likely to be absorbed by the skin of people with higher melanin content. Even if the sensors work when a person is sitting down, the darker their skin is, the less likely the sensors are to capture data when the person is moving. “The signal to noise ratio will be much lower for people having higher melanin content,” LeBoeuf says.

This is nothing but poor reporting on Quartz behalf. They claim that a person with tattoos tried the Apple Watch’s heart rate feature but it only worked one time out of five. Fine, the information about the test and the utter lack of detail aside, it’s at least something grounded in reality. The big problem is that the publication fail to do the same test on a person of dark skin, instead reporting the issue as truth. How hard is it to find a person with dark skin, really? Also, how likely is it that no one with access to the Apple Watch at Apple has dark skin? Unlikely, I’d wager, but I don’t know, nor does Quartz according to the story.

The whole piece is rubbish, built on someone saying something, rather than actual tests and reporting. Frankly, I’m surprised to see that this hasn’t been pulled altogether. Criticize all you want, point out flaws, but back it up with tests.

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