iTunes highlights HealthKit-ready fitness, nutrition, and medical apps

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Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Like a person with a new gym membership, Apple’s been on a health kick all year.

First we had the announcement of HealthKit at WWDC, then a fitness-oriented iPhone 5s ad in June, followed by Apple’s entry into the fitness-tracking market with the Apple Watch unveiling, and now the App Store’s been updated with a new “Apps for Health” section.

This section continues Apple’s trend for using human curation in the App Store by highlighting 14 apps which take advantage of iOS 8’s Health app by bringing health and fitness data into one centralized apps for access by users.

How Cupertino’s rivals plan to survive the Apple Watch

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How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.
How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.

In the business world, Apple entering your product category is a little bit like a tsunami crashing into a home aquarium. What had previously seemed like a nice, small and self-contained ecosystem suddenly runs the risk of being obliterated by a giant wave-maker.

When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch at Apple’s recent media event, the crowd went wild. But exciting as it was for consumers, it represents a seismic shift for the currently $330 million wearable tech industry.

Devices that can serve up smartphone notifications, track fitness goals and even advise us on health matters have the potential to be huge — but they’re not yet. That’s about to change, according to Juniper Research, which forecasts that wearable devices like smartwatches could hit sales of $19 billion by 2018.

What happens to Apple’s marketplace rivals as this sea change takes place? Cult of Mac did some digging to find out how companies like Jawbone and Fitbit plan to survive Apple’s smartwatch revolution.

CARROT Fit’s new punishments make for an hilariously cruel fitness app

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Photo: CARROT Fit
Photo: CARROT Fit

With both iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 family of devices finally out, developer Brian Mueller has released an upgrade for his excellent CARROT Fit app, adding “a shiny new update to go with your shiny new operating system.”

For those who don’t know, CARROT Fit is an hilarious take on the fitness app: a little bit like 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s H.A.L. meets Full Metal Jacket‘s memorable drill sergeant Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Welcoming you with a message of “Greetings, tubby human,” CARROT Fit is a snappily sadistic AI that will threaten, inspire, ridicule and bribe you into getting in shape over the course of a 7-minute workout.

It’s a surprising amount of fun, and today’s update adds news punishment in the form of ads and “random squirrel attacks.” There’s also iPhone 6 optimization, iPad support, and Dropbox data sync thanks to Apple’s new privacy requirements.

Update: HealthKit bug forces Apple to pull fitness apps

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Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple
Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple

A bug in HealthKit caused Apple to pull several fitness apps from its App Store Wednesday morning, just as the company was rolling out its long-awaited iOS 8 update.

Apple said the problem could keep apps compatible with HealthKit, a key component of iOS 8 that facilitates sharing of data among health and fitness apps and hardware, out of the store for weeks. “We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month,” Apple said in a statement to Cult of Mac.

Brian Mueller, developer of Carrot Fit, said Apple called and emailed him to say his fitness app had been removed from the App Store due to a last-minute problem with HealthKit. His app, and several others including My Fitness Pal and WebMD for iPhone, are currently unavailable for download.

“The rep couldn’t clarify what was wrong,” Mueller told Cult of Mac in an email, “though users of the app who had already downloaded the update were able to use the HealthKit features without any issue.”

Is the Apple Watch ready to become your digital doctor?

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Will the Apple Watch revolutionize mobile health as we know it? (Picture: The Next Web)
Will the Apple Watch revolutionize mobile health as we know it? Photos: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Months of rumors suggested Apple’s wearable device would be a health-centric powerhouse capable of predicting heart attacks, analyzing sweat and other miraculous feats. But in reality, the Apple Watch seems more like a sexy, supercharged fitness tracker than a full-fledged medical device.

Still, this is an ambitious first-generation device — a crucial step forward for wearables that points the way toward the comprehensive health and fitness device the Apple Watch could become.