Apple may not have been able to keep doctors away but the company's reportedly developing iOS 8 with a health-centric approach.
Apple executives reportedly met with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials in December, triggering speculations that the company might integrate mobile applications that will help Americans get slimmer and fitter. The technology may involve health tracking capabilities to tell users about their blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar levels among others. One cannot discount the fact that an iWatch might also be part of the equation.
The new version of the iOS platform will not focus on a new look unlike the iOS 7 but may rather focus on becoming a game changer in the health and fitness niche. In the center of it all, rumor mills buzz, is an application dubbed as "Healthbook."
"The 'Healthbook' application is said to take multiple user interface cues from Apple's own Passbook app, which is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets," reported 9to5Mac. "The new health and fitness application's interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for 'Healthbook' is similar to Passbook's icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing vital signs. "
The said application will keep track of the user's vital signs and monitor fitness activities such as number of steps taken, distance covered, or calories burned. The Healthbook might also allow users to input details of their prescription drugs and remind them of when they should be taken. The application will also help users monitor how they are succeeding with their weight loss efforts.
It is not clear how far the company is into the development of the health-centric version of its operating system and if the features will actually make the cut for its next release. Apple's rival Samsung has already incorporated a health-tracking app called S Health in its Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. S Health has built-in pedometer to measure the number of steps you take - or run. It can also measure the ambient temperature and humidity of the room you're in, and can pull up caloric information from a database of common food items.
The current iPhone has an M7 coprocessor that helps in motion-related tracking but may not have the capabilities of measuring other vital functions of the human body. Here enters the possibility of the iWatch communicating with the smartphone. The wearable device is purportedly due for rollout later this year.
The New York Times said Apple might be looking at laying the foundations for having mobile medical applications when it met with FDA officials or that the company might be trying out to iron out some existing hangups.
Apple is also tweaking its Maps application to inject indoor mapping and transit directions but these might not make it to the next release because of its slow development progress.