Mobile health fans hoping to get a glimpse of Apple’s (NSDQ:AAPL) long-rumored iWatch today were left disappointed, but the company offered the public a look at its brand new HealthKit application, available in the next generation of iOS software.
The consumer tech giant remained characteristically enigmatic about prospects for a sensor-laden ‘iWatch’ wearable device, but Apple software engineering senior vice president Craig Federighi unveiled ‘HealthKit,’ an app that aggregates health and fitness information from 3rd-party technologies and apps.
Apple also announced today that it’s working with the Mayo Clinic to release a new app that will help connect doctors to patients. The app will collect various healthcare information from clinic visits as well from a patient’s at-home care devices, allowing doctors remote monitoring and proactive intervention.
“Integrating with Apple’s new HealthKit, Mayo Clinic patients and consumers will be able to more easily access personalized health information, guidance and care when they need it,” according to the Mayo Clinic New Network. “Mayo Clinic patients will continue to securely access their patient information and services, but in the future, they will increasingly be able to organize and act on their health and wellness data in a more seamless manner. Users will be able to monitor various HealthKit parameters through an easy-to-interpret dashboard, which highlights trends and flags values that may need attention.”
"We believe Apple’s HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people," Mayo Clinic president & CEO John Noseworthy said in prepared remarks. "We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app."
Technology blogs have for months been buzzing about Apple’s health-market prospects, with images leaked in March for what was called the "HealthBook" app. Screen-shots released then by 9to5Mac.com showed features dedicated to tracking everything from basic body weight to blood sugar and oxygen saturation. Details were vague, but the screen-shots presented proof that the much-rumored HealthBook project was on the way, reputed 9to5Mac reporter Mark Gurman wrote.
Gurman speculated that the iPhone program may collect information through another much-rumored technology: the iWatch. The phones themselves have basic pedometer functionality and can calculate calories burned, but complementary devices will be needed to track blood and other biomarkers. Apple has not confirmed or denied its work on the iWatch, but fellow consumer electronics titans have made bold moves with newly released wearable technologies.
Just last month Samsung (LON:BC94) unveiled a new wearables platform with significant digital health opportunities. At its own exclusive event in San Francisco, the company unveiled its new digital health strategy, announcing an open wearable sensor hardware and software platform that it hopes to encourage innovators to come up with new ways to help consumers track their bodies.
Samsung president and chief strategy officer told an audience yesterday that digital health is the "single greatest opportunity of our generation," and that the company is on the lookout for new ways to meld technology and health, ZDNet reported.