Apple bolsters iOS 8 Health app with on-device steps, distance tracking & caffeine monitoring

Apple has made significant enhancements to its upcoming Health application for iOS 8 in the latest beta of the new iPhone operating system. Most notably, the Health application can now utilize the iPhone’s own M7 motion tracking hardware for data sourcing.

The Health app’s Steps counter tab can now report steps without connecting to any third party applications or hardware devices. Because this feature likely uses the M7 processor, an iPhone 5s is required to get the steps data directly from the device…

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WSJ: Apple planning multiple iWatch models with as many as 10 health-related sensors

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

iWatch concept: Espen Oxholm

The Wall Street Journal has published a new report claiming that Apple’s upcoming entry to the smartwatch market will sport ten or more sensors for collecting health data. The report also claims that the company is working on multiple versions for the wearable device, which is expected to be released later this year.

The iWatch is expected to be a health-focused device and will likely work with Apple’s new Health application, which it debuted earlier this month at its Worldwide Developer Conference. The application and its associated framework, called HealthKit, already have built-in support for certain types of devices without the need for a third-party application.

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Ahead of Apple’s HealthKit, WebMD app now tracks health & fitness data from connected accessories

WebMD today launched “Healthy Target”, a feature within its iOS app that lets users track health data from a variety of sources like activity trackers, glucose meters, and other iPhone-connected health and fitness accessories. The feature lets users set goals, track habits, get easy to understand summaries of biometric data, and also provides progress reports and inspiration along the way. WebMD says the feature “will provide valuable assistance to individuals looking to manage chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as to a broader audience interested in achieving their fitness goals or more generally living a healthier lifestyle.” The feature acts a lot like Apple’s new Health app, which is about to launch alongside its new HealthKit platform for developers this fall with iOS 8Read more

FDA details high-level meeting with Apple: “Moral obligation to do more” with health, innovative sensors

iWatch-Concept-future-05Following Apple employees’ meeting with the FDA to discuss “mobile medical applications” earlier this year, AppleToolbox has published a response from the FDA to a Freedom of Information Act Request asking for more information about what was discussed.

A response to the request took three months to complete, and arrived just after Apple introduced its new HealthKit platform and Health app for iOS 8 last week. While much the FDA’s answer sounds like Apple was discussing HealthKit, the response also gives some interesting clues that Apple is working on health products that go beyond the sensors currently in the iPhone and iPad:

With the potential for more sensors on mobile devices, Apple believes there is the opportunity to do more with devices, and that there may be a moral obligation to do more… Sensors already exist on medical devices. For instance, Apple’s devices have cameras and accelerometers. There is still an opportunity to innovate, but Apple wants to make sure they are on the side of the FDA.

So we can assume Apple was likely meeting with the FDA for HealthKit, which takes advantage of the iPhone’s sensors and data collected by third-party apps through already available accessories, but it was also discussing implications of possibly tapping into additional sensors and doing more in the way of measuring health data. It won’t be any surprise to those that have followed our reports on iWatch as far back as last year, and we’ve continued following as Apple builds a team of medical, fitness, and sensor experts to work on the project. Read more

Report corroborates Apple planning to announce new wearable product in October

One of many iWatch concepts.

One of many iWatch concepts.

Re/code’s John Paczkowski is reporting that Apple is set to announce its new wearable product in October, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans. The site says that the watch will take full advantage of HealthKit and Health, Apple’s fitness and health management app introduced in iOS 8.

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HealthKit supports some Bluetooth products natively, lets accessory makers skip app development

Withings-Wireless-Blood-Pressure-Monitor

Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

Apple’s new HealthKit platform and Health app for iOS 8 acts as a central location for users to store and share health data from third-party apps, but Apple is also supporting some Bluetooth accessories natively in the Health app. That means that some accessory manufacturers will be able to skip the process of developing a companion app for their product and instead allow HealthKit to automatically connect to and control the device itself.  Read more