Apple's Healthbook app looks too extensive for just an iWatch device

Apple's Healthbook app looks too extensive for just an iWatch device

Summary: Some new information was posted showing how extensive Apple's Healthbook may be and seeing the list of data I can't believe an iWatch can collect it all. Healthbook may turn out to be a Passbook for your activity and collect data from other sources.

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, Health, iOS

ZDNet's Jason O'Grady wrote about Apple's plans for health market in February and then last week about the Healthbook app and service likely coming in iOS 8 at the June WWDC. Through various sources 9to5Mac was able to recreate a couple of screenshots and provide a detailed discussion of what Apple is likely to include in Healthbook.

iWatch: The real problem isn't the technology - it's bigger than that

iWatch: The real problem isn't the technology - it's bigger than that

iWatch: The real problem isn't the technology - it's bigger than that

Apple often waits for technologies and services to mature before jumping in and offering up a premium experience. We have seen third party health and fitness trackers for years with a load of apps in the App Store that can be used for various health functions. It is believed that Apple's Healthbook will include data for physical activity, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and weight. This is more than any device does to date and the major question is how this data will be collected.

Apple could use the iPhone, launch their own device (maybe the iWatch is more of a health device), or collect data from existing or future third party devices. Given the breadth of data Healthbook might include, a single device is not yet available that captures everything so Healthbook could be a system that collects data from various sources, similar to how Passbook works.

ZDNet's Larry Dignan isn't excited about being locked into the "iTunes of fitness" if Apple launches Healthbook in a closed ecosystem like the Nike Fuelband. As a user of multiple smartphones, I personally cannot get locked into an iOS-only health experience either. My favorite health device is the Jawbone UP24 that I use with both iOS and Android devices.

Apple's iPhone market share has remained fairly steady and is likely to stay fairly constant since it is the most expensive smartphone line on the market. Thus, having a locked down health ecosystem means there will be a limited market. People who are interested in health tracking likely already have a Fitbit, UP, Fuelband, or other device so I would like to see Apple collect that data rather than require people to go out and purchase yet another device.

Then again, millions are already locked into using the Apple ecosystem and enjoy those experiences. Having a health device that is also locked into Apple hardware is not an issue for those people and actually may be preferred. There are also people who don't know about or understand the activity tracking market so Apple's marketing power may introduce them to the world of health tracking.

I am sure we will hear more about Healthbook and Apple's plans at the WWDC in June and look forward to the news. For now, I'll keep tracking my activity with the UP24 and syncing to iOS and Android smartphones.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Health, iOS

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • A bit concerned

    Collection and storage of my personal physical data always leads me to big questions (at least for me):
    1. What is the intended use of this data?
    2. How secure is it?

    This looks like less than I would want but more than the current "toys" offered. I say toys as I have yet to find a setup that is both dependable and accurate. Then again, I'm also not sure how comfortable I feel with Apple doing this unless they open up and give us all the details including storage, security and design going forward.
  • No need for Healthbook

    Sync everything into and be done.
  • Don't Understand the "Locked In" Argument

    I have never understood the argument that Apple is a closed ecosystem, a walled garden, whatever. I just look at the platform and what it can do for me.

    Back in the day when digital cameras used AA batteries, lithium ion batteries were coming into the fray. These lithium ion batteries were designed to work only with that particular camera and if it ran out of juice you were basically stuck. I could never understand people's argument that AA's were a better choice because you could pick up a pair from any store.

    Perhaps, you could pick up AA's from any store, but those AA's didn't perform as well as lithiums. They didn't last as long and they didn't perform under different temperature extremes the same way either. If you look at the market, it's clear lithium ion batteries have been the clear winner because of their high performance.

    I just look at what works well. If Apple's health book apps work better than the other apps, why do I care if it's a closed system or not?