Apple’s Healthbook and Google’s Android Wear
If you believe the rumors, Apple plans to launch into the health and fitness world later this year with a software upgrade—and potentially some killer hardware. But it seems like Google might have beat the company to the punch.
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
While the Apple App Store currently offers excellent apps for working out, developers haven’t integrated those apps with iOS the way they have with music, email, and maps. Until now.
Many reputable Apple-related news outlets, including 9to5Mac, reported earlier this week that the Cupertino-based company plans to launch Healthbook—a health and fitness tracking feature—when it releases iOS 8 later this year.
According to recreated screenshots published by 9to5Mac, the app will use cards—similar to the iPhone’s existing Passbook application—to track metrics like bloodwork, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, oxygen saturation, and weight.
While many current apps focus on fitness activity or weight and diet management, Apple seems poised to combine those features. It’s not hard to see why a native iOS app that combines the utilities of multiple of its competitors could put other fitness trackers out of business.
Apple also made a few notable hires—Jay Blahnik, Dr. Michael O’Reilly, and Roy Raymann—last year that have fueled Healthbook rumors. Blahnik is a fitness expert who helped companies such as Nike expand into fitness tech. Reilly specializes in pulse oximeters, which measure oxygen saturation, and is likely contributing his expertise to the Healthbook team as well. Raymann is a world-renowned sleep expert who previously worked for Philips.
As with any Apple rumor, the Healthbook news comes with lots of questions and a huge caveat—this could all be speculation. For one, we’re not exactly sure where the iPhone will draw the data for Healthbook—possibilities include the iPhone itself, third-party apps, third-party devices, or the long-rumored iWatch.
Speaking of watches, if you’re looking to get your hands on some cutting-edge fitness tech before Apple releases the still-mythical Healthbook, look no further than the company’s largest competitor. Google has beaten Apple to the fitness tech punch with its Android Wear, a new watch software.
The blog post announcing Android Wear covers four key features of the new software, one of which is the “ability to better monitor your health and fitness.” The other capabilities relate to speedy information access, an easy-to-use voice control interface, and cross-device operational abilities. Like the Android operating system, Android Wear will run on watches developed by other companies, like Motorola and LG. Motorola will release its Android Wear-supporting watch, the Moto 360, this summer.
Android Wear promises to help you “hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries.” But its features don’t exactly parallel Apple’s, with the blog post suggesting that “your favorite fitness apps” will continue to provide you with your health data.
This raises a big question. After hearing the latest Apple news, is Google now hard at work developing its own native fitness hub for its mobile devices?