More developers are stepping forward with early looks at upcoming third-party keyboards for iOS 8. Today, Ginger Keyboard is going public with a keyboard that focuses on customization. The actual keyboard itself while used across iOS 8 does not add much new functionality, but many users will likely enjoy being able to completely customize the design of their keyboard.
Today, Apple has updated its official App Store developers Review Guidelines to outline the requirements for iOS 8 applications that will make use of the new HealthKit, HomeKit, TestFlight, and Extensions services. Today’s update indicates that Apple is nearing the release of iOS 8, the next-generation mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch ahead of the September 9th Apple media event. Apple will provide developers with a golden master seed of iOS 8 on the day of the event, according to sources with knowledge of the plans. The review guidelines are a “living document” that list reasons that App Store apps could be rejected. Below are the full lists for HealthKit, HomeKit, TestFlight, and Extensions, but here are some of the more significant points:
- “Apps using the HealthKit framework that store users’ health information in iCloud will be rejected.” This point should reduce fears of intruders being able to access a user’s health data, especially after the scandal surrounding the leak of celebrity photos potentially stored in iCloud.
- “Apps that share user data acquired via the HealthKit API with third parties without user consent will be rejected.”
- “Apps that provide diagnoses, treatment advice, or control hardware designed to diagnose or treat medical conditions that do not provide written regulatory approval upon request will be rejected.” This point is crucial in that these fine print allows Apple to work around the FDA’s regulatory guidelines for mobile health applications.
- “Apps must not use data gathered from the HomeKit APIs for advertising or other use-based data mining.” Same deal with HealthKit, as we noted earlier this week.
- There are also a number of third party keyboard guidelines that will be critical for developers to follow.
In addition to those four new sections, Apple has also updated the guidelines to say that “if your app is plain creepy, it may not be accepted.” You can read all of the new bullet points below:
The move is not unexpected, as it would be very much against Apple’s modus operandi to allow developers access to such crucial data without some restrictions on its use in place as a protection for users. Similar restrictions exist for the Touch ID API, which doesn’t allow developers to access user fingerprint data at all, let alone store it.
There is one exception to this rule, however…
Tim Cook took some time to visit a VA hospital in Palo Alto today, accompanied by Rep. Anna Eshoo of the CA-18 congressional district, according to a photo the executive tweeted. The Palo Alto VA hospital is one of many medical facilities around the country using Apple’s iPads to help treat members of the U.S. armed forces.
Reuters noted today that Apple is working with healthcare professionals at hospitals across the country, including Mount Sinai and John Hopkins, in preparation for the rollout of the HealthKit system in iOS 8. The goal is to ensure that medical personnel are ready to read data from the system when it ships later this year.
This move is hardly surprising, as Apple intends HealthKit to serve as a collection place for all of a user’s health-related data, which can be valuable—even lifesaving—during a medical emergency. In fact, the Mayo Clinic demoed the first HealthKit-enabled application earlier this year during WWDC:
Apple has just filed for HealthKit trademarks in both the US and Europe ahead of iOS 8’s launch this fall and in at least one filing includes watches in a list of goods that could take advantage of the health-tracking software.
While the filing in the US (filed July 31) only includes classifications for computer software and covers the HealthKit text, a filing in Europe (published yesterday) extends classifications to include health, fitness, and exercise sensors, medical devices, and watches: Read more
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…
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.
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 8. Read more
Following 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
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.
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