By: Mikey Campbell
Friday, January 31, 2014 7:18 PM
A report on Friday claims Apple is working to incorporate a new built-in app dubbed "Healthbook" into its next iOS iteration, with the software able to track everything from food intake to glucose levels.
Citing sources familiar with the plans, 9to5Mac claims the codenamed "Healthbook" will be able tap into data from advanced sensors possibly built into next-generation iOS devices -- including the so-called "iWatch" -- to track a variety of metrics via a swipe-able card UI.
On the health side, "Healthbook" can reportedly track blood pressure, hydration level, heart rate and even glucose level measurements. As for blood readings, Apple's recent hire of Michael O'Reilly may play an integral role in the development of such technology. Prior to joining Apple, O'Reilly was the chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs at pulse oximeter firm Masimo Corporation.
In addition to data aggregation, the app may have hooks into other first-party software like Calendar and Reminders, allowing users to create medication reminders. In its final form, "Healthbook" could be a one-stop solution for nearly all things medical.
As for fitness, the app is said to include the usual steps taken and distance measurement data, while adding in daily caloric intake and weight tracking.
Perhaps the most interesting implication of an app like "Healthbook" is the hardware needed to generate raw data -- hardware that does not yet exist in Apple's ecosystem. Currently, Apple'sM7 motion coprocessor allows for accurate measurement of step and distance traveled, but falls short of physical body readings like those purportedly coming with the new app.
One answer would be the intorduction of a peripheral device, such as a watch, that incorporates advanced components like a thermometer, galvanic skin response sensor, blood oximeter and more. Data can then be offloaded to an iPhone via Bluetooth, processed and recorded.
Apple's timeline for a rollout of the supposed app and corresponding hardware is largely unknown, but it can be expected that a next-generation iOS and iPhone will be released as per the company's usual annual product cycle.
Adding fuel to the rumor fire, a The New York Times report on Friday noted Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams, VP of Software and Technology Bud Tribble, Michael O'Reilly and government affairs counsel Tim Powderly met with the FDA in December to discuss "mobile medical applications." The nature and outcome of the meet-up remains unknown.