February 3, 2014
Rumors Suggest iWatch Will Mark Apple’s Entry Into Mobile Health Market
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The latest round of rumors surrounding Apple’s iWatch suggest that the device will emphasize mobile health and fitness tracking, and marks the beginning of a new direction for the Cupertino, California-based iPad and iPhone manufacturer, according media reports published late last week.
According to Mark Gurman of 9to5mac, the sensor-laden wrist-based computing device will work with an application currently known as Healthbook. This application, rumored to be part of the next update to Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS 8), will monitor and store a variety of fitness-related information, Gurman said.
Specifically, Healthbook will be collecting statistics “such as steps taken, calories burned, blood pressure, hydration levels and even blood-related data such as glucose levels,” the Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi explained on Friday. The application’s presence in iOS 8 also means it is possible the iWatch could be released sometime in 2014, though an Apple spokeswoman declined Wakabayashi’s request for comment.
“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,” Gurman said, adding that it is believed that Healthbook will “take multiple user interface cues from Apple’s own Passbook app, which is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets.”
The application’s interface is described as similar in nature to a deck of cards, with each one representing a different health or fitness-related item. Users can swipe to get from one card to another, and the prototype logo for Healthbook is said to be similar to that of Passbook except featuring vital signs, the 9to5mac.com writer added. He also cites sources claiming the application could be cut prior to the release of iOS 8.
In addition, Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica said reports have surfaced of a meeting between senior Apple officials (including Senior Vice President of Operations Jeff Williams, Vice President of Software Technology Bud Tribble and Vice President of Worldwide Government Affairs Cathy Novelli) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
During that meeting, the matter of “mobile medical applications” was discussed, and could be “evidence” of the tech giant’s continued pursuit of their health-centric smartwatch-type mobile device. Similarly, CNET staff writer Richard Nieva notes that Apple has recently hired some key personnel in the field of health technology, including Michael O'Reilly, former chief medical officer at California-based medical technology firm Masimo Corporation.