Health for iOS 8 aims to knit fitness data in one place

Apple's new iOS 8 app aims to be a hub for fitness and health. Here's how.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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Scott Stein
2 min read

Apple announced a new app for health, called Health, at the WWDC 2014 keynote. It's part of a suite of new apps for iOS 8 . And while it may not be an Apple iWatch, it might be the next big step towards one.

We'd been anticipating some sort of health app, and Health, plus a service for HealthKit, is it. It's a hub for data. It's meant to work with third-party health peripherals. And it will work with medically-issued health data, too.

The promise, according to what was demonstrated at WWDC, is to knit data from separate apps and even fitness accessories into one repository. Nike, for instance, was named as one company who will be enabling its data into Health. A picture of a Fitbit next to the iPhone shows it won't be the only fitness device to get quick support.

Health will work with HealthKit to fold other medical data in and send it out as well. A partnership with the Mayo Clinic promises to import an individual's particular health parameters, like blood pressure, and then contact a hospital if one's readings suddenly get too high. Health could be a form of phone-based MedicAlert-typed system in that regard.

But, judging on data fields like calories, steps taken and heart rate, it'll also be a life and fitness-tracking hub. Many third-party apps already do this, and Samsung is already promising it'll enter this field too with its cloud health database. Apple, however, seems to be looking directly at the average iPhone user. Whether it'll be better than Apple's PassBook app was at folding in gift card data and e-tickets remains to be seen. But this could easily be the first step towards Apple's own fitness-tracking health device.

More to come. For more, watch our live coverage of WWDC and read the rest of CNET's coverage of WWDC.