Apple reportedly working on sleep monitor for future watch

The feature could come as early as next year, Bloomberg reports.

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The Apple Watch may soon be getting a built-in sleep monitor.

James Martin/CNET

Apple is developing a sleep-monitoring feature for a future version of its Apple Watch , Bloomberg reports.

The feature has been in testing for several months and could be added to the Apple Watch by 2020 if functionality results are positive, people familiar with the project told Bloomberg. Fitness bands already offer sleep monitors, but Apple's presence could be disruptive to companies such as Fitbit , despite the competitive advantage they already enjoy. 

Apple doesn't currently offer a built-in tracker for its smartwatch, but third-party apps can be used to turn the Apple Watch into a sleep tracker. Like other fitness trackers, sleep monitors help you keep an eye on the hours you sleep at night, how long you're in REM cycle sleep and whether you move around a lot while you're snoozing.

Apple received approval from the Federal Communications Commission for a "sleep monitor," but details in the filing are slim. An illustration in the filing shows a product label that includes the description "designed by Beddit in California" -- a company Apple acquired in 2017 that makes a $150 sleep tracking device which lies between your sheet and mattress.

Apple has made a big push into the health and fitness industry, providing more health data to people through its devices, including step-counting on the iPhone and heart-rate tracking on the Apple Watch.

In a January interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook trumpeted the company's efforts in health care.

"This is an area that I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' It will be about health," Cook said.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.