Apple Watch tattoo problems could make or break it

Apple Watch Tattoo Problem: Inked Consumers Have Problems With Heart Rate Monitor, Basic Functions

Apple Watch and tattoos aren’t such great bedfellows, it seems. If you’re hoping to use the heart rate monitor and you’re inked, you could find yourself disappointed.

While it’s a popular idea to get a tattoo to commemorate events in your life, Apple’s latest technology could prove useless if you’ve had it done. At upwards of $17,000 for a top-of-the-line, 18-karat gold wearable, this is one app you might discover you can’t use.

While it’s unclear exactly what extent the tattoo problem can reach, the most common issue is with the sleeve ink jobs.

Apple has confirmed that the device’s method of measuring your heart rate can clash with deviations in skin color. The device’s sensor uses an infrared and green-colored light to determine blood flow, and some kinds of ink – it isn’t clear which types, colors, or patterns cause problems – interfere with the information the Apple Watch reads through a tattoo.

The ink can absorb the light and throw off the sensor, in some cases making the application useless. Apple has updated the support page on their website with a disclaimer for the new wearable.

“Permanent or temporary changes to your skin, such as some tattoos, can also impact heart rate sensor performance. The ink, pattern, and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings.”

This could also create problems with the marketability of the device, since there is already competition from Sony, Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, LG, and Pebble, says CNet. If the heart rate monitor is a reason for the purchase, Apple could lose money to potentially less expensive competitors.

Even Fitbit and Microsoft have wearable bands which offer the same utility.

The same sensors it uses to measure your heart rate are the ones it uses to determine if you’re wearing it, and if it doesn’t think it’s being worn, it might not work at all. Tattoos could be Apple’s greatest enemy until they can find a way around it.

So far, the Apple Watch tattoo problem isn’t setting it back though. The device is already on back-order, with pre-ordering consumers likely not seeing theirs until June or July.

[Image via Apple / I4U]