A report from 9to5Mac reveals that Apple muught be working on a built-in application called “Healthbook” for iOS 8. According to 9to5Mac’s sources, Healthbook will take visual cues from the existing Passbook application, and it will be capable of monitoring and tracking “blood pressure, hydration levels, heart rate, and … glucose levels” among other things.
It is said that the application will be able to track weight loss and remind users when they need to take their prescriptions. The “iWatch” would supposedly contain the various sensors needed to collect and track much of this information, suggesting that Apple’s purported smartwatch would communicate with iPhones via Bluetooth or another wireless technology much as current smartwatches tether to existing iOS and Android devices. Assuming Apple sticks to its normal release schedule, iOS 8 should be available in late summer or early fall.
If the reports turn out to be true, the iWatch could be a strong competitor to dedicated fitness gadgets like Fitbit’s Flex, Jawbone Up, and the Nike’s Fuelband, which feature more limited fitness tracking and phone synchronization capabilities. Apple already has some experience with sensors and tracking—the most recent iPhones and iPads all include Apple’s M7, a dedicated low-power chip that can collect data from the devices’ various sensors without waking up the main SoC.
In a smaller, power-constrained device like a wristband or watch, the ability to collect and send this data without using the main processor will be very important, especially if the iWatch is also a general-purpose smartwatch like the Pebble Steel and not just a dedicated fitness gadget.