Apple has announced at their World Wide Developer Conference that it is getting into the growing health and fitness app category with a platform called HealthKit and an app called, simply, Health.
The tools will aggregate information from various third-party wearable devices and apps, and in some cases even reach out to doctors if the data suggest potential issues.
“Healthkit,” will pull together data such as blood pressure and weight, collected by a growing plethora of healthcare apps on the iPhone or iPad, Apple executives told developers.
The company will work in tandem with Nike, a major player in fitness tracking, and the Mayo Clinic on the new feature, which will be included with the latest versions of Apple’s mobile software.
“That information lives in silos,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering. “You can’t get a single comprehensive picture.”
The Health app keeps track of several different health metrics measured by various devices, including heart rate, calories, cholesterol, and more. It also features an “emergency card” that includes all of a user’s important health information, including blood type and allergies, which can be displayed directly on the lock screen of an iOS device.
Accompanying Health is the HealthKit tool for developers, which can be incorporated into both new and existing health and fitness apps to allow them to access the health data stored within the Health app. Users are able to choose exactly what’s shared and can, potentially, choose to share data from a blood pressure app with a doctor. Apps can also be authorized to share information with each other. A nutrition app might share how many calories are consumed with a fitness app, for example said Mac Rumors.
Apple, which will discuss new software features with the thousands of developers gathered in San Francisco this week, did not elaborate on Healthkit’s features and capabilities.
The news follows arch-rival Samsung’s announcement last week of a mobile health-data store called SAMI (Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions).
It is unclear how Apple will promote Healthkit. Samsung plans to market SAMI by hosting a developer challenge and setting aside a $50 million fund for early-stage digital health entrepreneurs.