Tattoo Tribulations for Apple Watch

patriots apple watch
No tattoo? No problem

It’s not been a great week for anyone waiting to get their hands on an Apple Watch. As we reported yesterday, production problems have slowed the release of the device, with only 22 per cent of Apple Watches that were pre-ordered delivered during the first weekend the device was available.

Now things have taken a turn for the worse for many hipsters awaiting the arrival of their new toy, with Apple admitting that some of the Apple Watch functionality may be impaired when worn on an arm with a tattoo. Tattoos, apparently, can fool the light sensors on the back of the watch, making it difficult to pick up a reading.

A page on Apple’s support site for the watch cautions: “Many factors can affect the performance of the Apple Watch heart rate sensor. Skin perfusion is one. A fancy way of describing how much blood flows through your skin, skin perfusion varies significantly from person to person and can also be impacted by the environment. If you’re exercising in the cold, for example, the skin perfusion in your wrist may be too low for the heart rate sensor to get a reading.

“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.”

While the problem is not confined to the Apple Watch, and while it doesn’t look like a problem of the same proportion as Antennagate, there will no doubt be more than one hipster out there wishing they’d thought twice before they got that ‘Shoreditch Till I Die’ tattoo on their watch-bearing arm.