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Apple Watch struggling with tattoos

The Apple Watch is not working properly for some users, and it’s down to their tattoos.

According to several users on Twitter and Reddit, those with tattoos on their wrists are having issues getting the Watch to recognise it is being worn.

A video has surfaced on YouTube, combined with similar accounts from others on social media, that suggests dark ink is hindering the Watch’s ability to recognise and scan skin for health tracking features.

The Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light-sensitive photodiodes (semiconductors) that detect the amount of blood flowing through the wrist in order to measure heart rate. Apple’s own support page suggests that tattoos can interfere with readings given by the heart rate monitor, saying the “ink, pattern and saturation of some tattoos can block light from the sensor, making it difficult to get reliable readings”.

Twitter users, perhaps unaware of the issue until now, have since been quick to respond with the #tattoogate.

This follows a Wall Street Journal report that suggested some of the taptic engines, which produce the vibration that mimics being tapped on the wrist and are used for notifications, started to break down over time. The flaw was said to be slowing down the roll-out of the Watch.

Despite these apparent issues, analysts are suggesting the Apple Watch has made quite an impact in sales already. The firm’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri told the Financial Times that first-day sales were “very good” compared with the launch of the first ever iPhone and iPad.

Some 270,000 iPhones were sold on day one, and 300,000 iPads – and Maestri’s comments suggest the Watch has topped them both.

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