In line with the current trend towards health apps and wearables, Apple is due to launch their own app, Healthbook. The release of the app is likely to be timed to coincide with the release of iOS 8. It will collect and then organise specific information as well as data points that relate to the health of the app user. Included in the app’s offerings is the chance to access statistics on fitness, delivered from the new M7 processor in the iPhone 5. Other data will be collected from a new wearable device (the iWatch – rumoured to be a ‘smartwatch’ that acts as a small wearable computer worn on the wrist and synced with the iPhone.) The app will be preinstalled and will be capable of tracking data points such as information on things like blood pressure, heart rate, hydration levels, and has the potential to monitor other significant data for conditions like diabetes with measurement of blood glucose levels. Another feature could be the capability to remind the user of times at which they should take their medication.
Taking multiple user interface cues from the Passbook app, also produced by Apple, the Healthbook app has been developed to store such things as coupons and loyalty cards as ‘virtual cards’ removing the need for the actual item to be carried in a physical purse or wallet.
Essentially the interface of the new Healthbook application is a virtual store of cards that can be swiped with ease. Each of the stored cards signifies a different data point for a health or fitness parameter. The logo for the Healthbook app bears a striking resemblance to the Apple Passbook icon. The design of the Healthbook app, however, is decorated with graphics that depict vital signs. Along with this new app, Apple are rumoured to be working on the design of their iOS 8 with the iWatch very much in mind. Sources also suggest that both the iWatch and iPhone will be dependent on each other to a great extent to enable the health-tracking features. It is thought that the iWatch will be able, in the same way as the Healthbook does, to measure health parameters that include vital signs such as heart rate etc.
An Apple App a Day Will Keep The Doctor Away
Although as yet the speculation as the launch date of the app is just that, sources do suggest that Apple have managed to combine several of the health sensors into just one chipset to keep the size as small as possible.
Recently, Apple has also even requested a few patents. According to one document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company is developing technology that could possibly unlock a device like an iPhone by identifying the owner’s unique electrical signals from the heart. And last year, Apple hired several health, medical, and fitness experts to work on these hardware and software projects.
None of the above comes as a surprise to me as Apple are looking at a number of new areas to diversify into to help re-ignite its growth and with the healthcare app development market set to grow to over $20 billion by 2017, I guess Apple want a slice of that tasty pie and with lashings of cream on top!