Rumors surrounding iOS 8 and the iWatch are starting to heat up, including details of a new “Healthbook” app. Apple is particularly focused on fitness for its smartwatch, according to a pair of reports from yesterday.
9to5Mac believes “Apple currently plans to release a new version of the iPhone operating system this year with health and fitness tracking integration as its headline feature.” The site has learned of a new app being developed for iOS 8 called Healthbook that is essentially like the existing Passbook app, only for health and medical information.
Instead of storing rewards cards and movie tickets, Healthbook would store cards representing different vitals, such as “steps taken, calories burned, and miles walked.” More detailed medical stats, like blood pressure, heart rate, hydration levels, and glucose levels could also be in the mix.
According to The New York Times, top Apple executives recently met with the Food and Drug Administration “to discuss mobile medical applications.” The meeting likely revolved around Apple seeking regulatory approval for whatever health and fitness technology it wants to bring to market in the near future.
The Times added that, “Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior vice president for technologies, who previously ran hardware engineering, has been heavily involved in exploring devices, sensors and technologies within Apple that can monitor people’s health and connect to an iPhone.” Mansfield was reassigned last summer to work on “special projects” for Apple, and he is believed to be a key member of the company’s growing smartwatch project.
Other tidbits from the 9to5Mac report are that iOS 8 is internally codenamed “Okemo” (a popular ski resort in Vermont), Maps will be a big part of the iWatch, and the reiteration that Apple has been hiring people from the medical and fitness industries.
Tim Cook has said that “new product categories” are coming from Apple in 2014, and some kind of wearable would definitely fulfill that promise.
iWatch rumors have been difficult to follow in recent months, but it seems as though the product is indeed on track for release this year.
Image: Todd Hamilton