Apple iOS8 + iWatch Redefining Fitness Tracking, Mobile Health

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iOS8-iWatch-drchrono

Tim Cook Apples CEO in 2012 said last year

the whole sensor field is going to explode. It’s a little all over the place right now… with the arc of time, it will become clearer,

According to sources all around the web, Apple is now looking to get into healthcare. Specifically the mobile healthcare and fitness space. Apple is going to be releasing a new version of the iPhone operating system this year with health and fitness tracking on their minds, according to sources briefed with the plans. The plan is also nearing the time apple is likely to launch the long awaited iWatch which sources say is in development.

Health tracking

Besides fitness tracking, a marquee feature of “Healthbook” will be the ability to monitor a user’s vital signs.

The application will be able to track a person’s

  • blood pressure
  • hydration levels
  • heart rate
  • potentially several other blood-related data points, for example glucose levels

The software is also programmed to allow users to enter details about their medications so that they could be reminded to take pills at scheduled times. This will likely integrate with iOS’s existing Reminders application.

Last month, Apple executives Bud Tribble and  Jeff Williams met with F.D.A. officials in the United States regarding health applications, as noted by the New York Times. Details about what was discussed were not shared.

Fitness monitoring

Apple plans for iOS 8 to include an application codenamed “Healthbook.” The software will be capable of monitoring and storing fitness statistics on

  • steps taken
  • calories burned
  • miles walked
  • manage and track weight loss

allthingsd-tim-cook

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook sits on Nike’s Board of Directors, I’m sure there will be some interesting integrations from Nike and Apple. I’m sure things can get more interesting with other devices such as FitBit integrations. The Healthbook app will be able to track

  • person’s blood pressure
  • hydration levels
  • heart rate
  • potentially several other blood-related data points, for example glucose levels

The software is also programmed to allow users to enter details about their medications so that they could be reminded to take pills at scheduled times, likely to integrate with iOS’s app “Reminders”.

About a month ago, Apple executives Bud Tribble and Jeff Williams met with F.D.A officials F.D.A. officials in the United States regarding health applications, as noted earlier today by the New York Times. The details about what was discussed were not shared.

iOS8-Health-and-Fitness-apps

App interface

Sources are saying the “Healthbook” is designed out like Apples Passbook app, (it is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets).

The new health and fitness application’s interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for “Healthbook” is similar to Passbook’s icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing vital signs.

Sources warn that the health functionality could ultimately be removed from iOS 8 before its scheduled introduction. Apple develops several features for future operating systems and then finalizes which features make the cut for the release closer to launch.

iWatch

The iPhone hardware is capable of measuring steps due from the M7 chipset’s motion tracking abilities, the smartphone is incapable of measuring vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate (you can buy add ons for the iPhone for this!). Apple has patented technology for smartphones to track blood pressure. Most likely we won’t see this functionality in the iPhone this year.

Apple will likely develop iOS8 with the iWatch in mind.

Sources have previously indicated that Apple’s wearable computer will have sensors to track and measure aspects of the human body. “Healthbook” could be the conduit for users to read the data that the iWatch will collect. Indeed, sources with knowledge of the iWatch’s development say that the future product is designed to be heavily reliant on the iPhone.

Based on the health information that iOS 8 is capable of reading, Apple’s wearable device will seemingly have sensors for measuring –

  • hydration
  • blood pressure
  • heart rate

Sources also hint that Apple has developed technologies to be able to pack several different sensors into a single chipset.

iOS 8 will likely ship this year, a connection to the iWatch would seem to point to the wearable device also shipping in 2014.

The CEO of Apple told Apple employees that big plans are on the roadmap for 2014. Other people talking about Cook’s comment and Apple’s work on iOS 8, very little has been given about Apple’s plans to reveal its wearable app. Furthermore, another possibility is that iOS 8’s health functionality will be optimized for third-party health accessories in 2014 and Apple’s own hardware in future years.

There are so many devices out there for iOS currently and merging them in would be amazing.

  • blood pressure monitors
  • body weight scales
  • pedometers
  • heart rate monitors
  • fitness bands
  • glucose meters

Apple promotes these products in its online and retail stores. “Healthbook” could be a link for all of this new medical hardware.

The New Apple Medical Team

Apple hired several health, medical, and fitness experts in 2013 to work on hardware and software projects. Some of the notable names include former Nike advisor Jay Blahnik and former Senseonics vice president Dr. Todd Whitehurst.

In 2014, Apple added Ravi Narasimhan from general medical devices firm Vital Connect and Nancy Dougherty from startup Sano Intelligence to its iWatch dev group. Apple also hired Michael O’Reilly, a former executive at Masimo Corporation who worked on noninvasive pulse sensors.

Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch, hardware executive Bob Mansfield, and senior hardware engineering manager James Foster are also said to be key players in iWatch.

Summary

Have the iPhone user base, Apple can easily advance the healthcare industry by adding health and fitness-focused apps into iOS and the potential of an advanced, sensor-packed wearable computers. I am glad to see Apple help fix healthcare.

 

 

 

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