UPDATE: Apple has responded. Click here to see what they had to say.
Before you go out and shell out hundred of dollars of your hard earned cash on the new Apple Watch there is one important question that you need to ask yourself—do I have tattoos? On the surface whether or not you have tattoos seems like it should be completely irrelevant when purchasing an Apple Watch but as one Reddit user pointed out tattoos could cause the watch to malfunction.
Reddit user Guine55fan purchased the 42mm SS watch and found himself unable to get any notifications when he placed it on his wrist. In fact, the watch locked up and asked for his password once it would go dark. Guine55fan has a tattooed sleeve that covers his left arm, including the spot on his wrist where the watch rests. Curious to find out why the watch wasn't working Gunie55fan slid the watch down to an untattooed part of his hand and lo and behold the watch worked beautifully.
On the thread speculation abounds as to what exactly is causing the watch to not work on tattooed skin. Apple Insider explains that the Apple Watch uses a process known asphotoplethysmography to detect that the watch is being worn. By using infrared LED lights the watch detects blood flow under the skin, thus it recognizes that it is on a person. In this case it appears as if the color within the tattoo, as you can see from the picture that the tattoo is black, is blocking the LED lights from detecting the blood flow.
By turning off the wrist detection mode of the watch Guine55fan was able to get it working for the most part, although certain features of the watch will only work with wrist detection. It remains to be seen how widespread this problem has been for tattooed owners of the Apple Watch. One other Reddit user commented in the thread that they had heard of tattoos causing similar problems for a different watch owner.
It is more than likely that Apple will address this issue so that sleeve tattoos won't interfere with the functionality of the Apple Watch. Until that day comes though one might want to spend that 400 plus dollars on finishing up their sleeve instead of an Apple Watch.