Bug forces Apple to delay launch of HealthKit fitness apps

Apps were expected to be released with the launch of iOS 8 today, but they were pulled at the last minute.

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HealthKit apps are designed to allow health- and fitness-related data to be tracked and shared with consumers and doctors. CNET

The launch of several health- and fitness-related apps built on Apple's HealthKit platform has been delayed by a software bug, casting a shadow on today's release of Apple's long-awaited iOS 8.

An Apple representative didn't describe the nature of the bug but said the company was working to develop a solution in the next couple of weeks. HealthKit is a major new feature of Apple's new iOS 8 and is expected to play a key role when the Apple Watch launches next year.

"We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in a statement. "We're working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month."

Unveiled in June at the Worldwide Developers Conference, HealthKit is a platform designed for app developers that want to collect health information or disseminate it. Apple envisions the technology being used in tandem with its hardware to collect health information and then have that data sent off to doctors, with a patient's permission.

HealthKit stores a patient's health information in a centralized location that, Apple says, no one can access without the user's permission. The company says that once that permission is granted, it could go a long way toward improving health care and the ways in which doctors receive data about a patient's health.

Stanford will use HealthKit to track blood sugar in children with diabetes, while Duke will use the platform to track a wide range of measurements, including weight and blood pressure, in patients with cancer or heart disease, according to Reuters.

Several makers of fitness-tracking apps had also planned to take advantage of the platform, including Lark, Strava and WebMD. The HealthKit-based apps were expected to be available Wednesday on iOS 8 at Apple's App Store, but those apps are unavailable for download at this time.

Brian Mueller, developer of weight-loss app Carrot Fit, told Cult of Mac that he was informed by Apple this morning that the app had been pulled at the last minute owing to unspecified issues.

"The rep couldn't clarify what was wrong," Mueller told Cult of Mac, "though users of the app who had already downloaded the update were able to use the HealthKit features without any issue." Popular running and cycling tracker app Strava said it's app was unavailable "due to issues beyond [its] control."

"Unfortunately we were unable to make the newest version of Strava's app available in the App Store today due to issues beyond our control," a Strava spokesman said in a statement. "We hope to have it available in the App Store as soon as possible."

iOS 8 is the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad users. Focusing more on functionality than visuals, the new OS delivers a laundry list of features that many fans have desired for years.

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