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
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.