In January, we exclusively detailed a major upcoming Apple initiative: Healthbook. Healthbook is the working codename of an app currently planned to ship with iOS 8. It is an app that stores and reads health and fitness data from wearable devices (such as the sensor-laden “iWatch” Apple is developing).
Since our initial report, some more speculation and mockups have emerged online about the app. Above are a pair of mockups posted to Behance earlier today. The mockups follow some of the details presented in our original article:
The “Healthbook” application is said to 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 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.
According to sources, the mockups are “vaguely” the right idea. Of course, Apple is likely testing multiple different user-interfaces for this software, and since we are several months out from an official introduction, things can and likely will change (even drastically)…
Besides the above mockup, a new report from MobiHealthNews tried to pour some cold water on and add additional speculation to our Healthbook report. The report offers some interesting details, but it also shares some likely inaccurate information. Taking their report point-by-point:
- “There are more than 200 people working on this project:” Given the amount of work needed to produce medical-related hardware and software, this is likely true. Early last year, reports pegged the iWatch team at about 100 people in size. We’ve previously profiled about 15 of the big name hires.
- “iWatch is a peripheral device, not a primary one:” Likely. As our earlier report said: “sources with knowledge of the iWatch’s development say that the future product is designed to be heavily reliant on the iPhone.”
- “Technological capabilities will be simpler than rumors have indicated:” Perhaps. Our knowledge is reliant upon what Apple is programming the Healthbook app to be capable of and based on the company’s recent hires. Our sources today have reiterated that Healthbook is planned to be able to read glucose-related data, something that MobiHealthNews‘s report denies.
- “Meeting the FDA was about remaining unregulated:” This could make some sense. When Apple develops products, they want the launches to be as seamless as possible. Having to stamp on FDA-regulated symbol on the device’s packaging might go against Apple’s ethos.
- “The Healthbook concept is right on but may not be the real name:” Their report is basically agreeing with our post from January, but they say that our “Healthbook” name is incorrect. We’re sticking by Healthbook being the codename, but there’s no reason for the name not to change between now and the unveiling.
- “Skeptical of claims about hydration tracking:” Sources today reiterated that hydration data tracking is planned to be a part of Healthbook. As with the aforementioned topic of glucose data, this feature may not make the cut for the final release due to FDA restrictions.
- “Healthbook to focus on exercise, diet, sleep, stress, medication adherence — maybe women’s health:” Our original report said that the app would track exercise, diet, and medication adherence. However, sources have indicated that the women’s health/pregnancy and stress tracking functionality reported by MobiHealthNews is not currently in the cards for Healthbook. Perhaps that will change by launch or in later versions. As for sleep, we recently reported that Apple has been hiring sleep data experts.
Healthbook is a significant future product for Apple. But due to the likely involvement with regulatory bodies across the world, getting the “iWatch” and this app into the hands of consumers may take some time. Apple is not only on its own timetable for this product, but it will likely need to follow the schedules of governments. Since we’re dealing with medical, fitness, and health-related products, Apple should and will take its time testing these initiatives. In fact, the company has even been seeking people to test health related software in recent days. Apple’s entry into the health and sensor world is not a matter of if it will happen, but it comes down to how long it will take for Apple to implement its vision of reinventing mobile healthcare.
A “vague” mockup of the Healthbook app icon (by Nick Pomes):
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