At the Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, unveiled Apple’s efforts to lead the new era of health tracking with Health, a new iOS 8 app. The announcement of the new Health app has generated a lot of buzz among the app developer and wearable communities. Many are convinced that Apple’s new focus on health foreshadows its entry into the wearables market with the rumored iWatch. Apple is currently working with more than 20 medical partners in the US and Europe.
Health for iOS 8 acts similarly to Passbook in that it is a central place for information, in this case fitness and health data. The app pulls the user’s biometric data from many different sources and keeps track of it in one place, consolidating information that was formerly siloed. Health is a new and seamless way for users to get a full picture of their health and fitness data.
Apple Aims to Unite Wearable and Fitness Apps
The Health app will be powered by HealthKit, a set of tools for third party developers to report and collect health and fitness information to further their apps. Apple is integrating personal health metrics from third party apps and wearable devices into the iOS app, aggregating this information in one central place to create a better end user experience. HealthKit will act as a hub for third party apps, integrating with and drawing data from apps like Nike+, Jawbone, RunKeeper, Sleep Cycle, and others.
Apple gave an example during the presentation saying, “Nike+ apps using NikeFuel will be able to pull in other key HealthKit metrics such as sleep and nutrition to build a custom user profile and improve athletic performance.”
A Big Impact on the Mobile Health Industry
Apple’s HealthKit and Health app provide the means for users to send important health information to medical practitioners remotely and in real time, which is a huge step forward for mobile health. Apple announced a partnership with Mayo Clinic, which will allow users to log information like blood pressure and heart rate within the Health app. HealthKit could then alert the Mayo Clinic app of the results and even contact medical professionals if the results are abnormal.
“We believe Apple’s HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people,” said John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO, in a press release. “We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app.”
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