An Apple a day keeps the doctor away! Ok, so this might have had more relevance to the fruit, but it looks like the tech could soon be true to the phrase as well, after the iPhone manufacturer announced that HealthKit will be coming to iOS 8 this autumn.
But what is HealthKit? Will it really help us stay at the peak of our physical condition? Or will it sink to the bottom of our gym bags alongside those brand new trainers that have been completely neglected since Christmas?
Well you better strap up those running shoes and get ready to break a sweat, because we’re going to give Apple’s latest feature a full body workout!
What is HealthKit?
HealthKit is a feature found on all devices supporting iOS 8 and will be used for collecting fitness and medical information. The feature is capable of integrating information from a multitude of third-party apps and devices, meaning devices such as Nike’s FuelBand could work with with the feature, rather than simply replacing such tech.
The system is built with both Nike’s running app and the Mayo Clinic application, offering users immediate access to fitness tracking and health information that may already be recorded on either app. More apps are said to be working on integration methods with Apple, so you can expect the wealth of linked apps to grow in the future as well.
Apple is also planning to work with other health organisations, allowing data recorded by the feature to be sent to healthcare providers, possibly the likes of BUPA, to help improve the quality of check-ups.
What does HealthKit Record and How?
Apple has already shown us plenty of features controlled by HealthKit, announcing that it will track calories burnt, sleep, heart rate, nutrition, fitness and medications. Features such as lab reports will be included in the reports as well, giving you a full run down of your overall health. And all of this will be housed in a simple menu for you to glance at when monitoring your progress.
Is my HealthKit Data Safe?
Data security has made some pretty damning headlines over the past few years, with companies as big as eBay and even Apple themselves being the victim of hacking scandals. But the Californian company has assured us that our sensitive data will be the top priority when it comes down to HealthKit.
All information will be encrypted on your handset and kept well clear from potentially leaky third-party servers. Plus, with the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID on board, the feature will most likely require a password or fingerprint protection method to get in. This would mean that any third party apps would only be able to give information to HealthKit, rather than being able to record any information itself, making it as technologically safe as possible.
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Will there be an iWatch?
iOS 8 has been released to developers this week, but for all of us regular Joes out there, we’ll have to wait until the official release of the software this autumn. The launch is expected to coincide with the release of the iPhone 6, with the possibility of the iWatch also making an appearance.
Although critics were hoping to catch a sneak peek of the iWatch at WWDC, no talk has arrived about the device making its way off the drawing board quite yet. Instead, a wearable smartwatch is heavily expected to link to HealthKit when it does make an appearance, possibly this September.
The upgraded iOS will be made available on iPhones from the 4s model and later. For iPads, the iPad 2 and newer devices will all be eligible for the update, meaning only the original iPad will be the only tablet not capable of supporting the software.
Will it be a hit?
If HealthKit fulfils all of the promises it’s currently making, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t prove a success. Whilst it might not drive us all to the gym, it will certainly help mobile users become aware of their fitness levels and help us keep our general health in check.
With the Nike integration built-in, Apple already has one big name on-board and with the ability to link other third party devices, the HealthKit feature could provide the solution to all of our health related needs. The possibililty of iWatch integration will no doubt bring in some more cash, proving that health could pay big time for Apple, making iOS 8 one of the most successful operating systems yet.
We guess we’ll have to wait and see how it works in practice, but hopefully our gym workouts will be getting a bit more advanced this autumn.
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