Apple is prepping some new apps for the Apple Watch to further cement its position as one of the best fitness trackers on the market, while filling a few holes in its current lineup. According to Bloomberg, the move is aimed at moving HealthKit away from a platform to record health and fitness data to something that provides actionable information.
For example, one new app is a sleep tracker, which shouldn’t be all too surprising given the refresh that Apple’s watch app received with iOS 10. With the iPhone, you can now set your alarms based on how long you’d like to sleep, and iOS 10 does do some rudimentary sleep analysis by attempting to detect when you’re asleep by your phone activity.
The other appears to be a new type of fitness app that analyzes how your heart rate falls to its resting level to judge your level of fitness. While these apps will have a measurable benefit to you, Apple is also aiming to make HealthKit usable for medical diagnoses. With all that data, the company sees a big opportunity to gain a foothold in the $8 trillion global healthcare industry.
Apple already has the know-how to do so. Earlier this year it acquired Gliimpse, a startup that aims to bring together separate medical databases and store them in a central location. But the hardware won’t change, both due to strict FDA regulations on medical devices and a desire to focus on features that benefit the most consumers — a heart-rate monitor over a glucose meter, for example.
It is unclear if these new features are part of early work for iOS 11, or just snippets of what we can expect longer term from Apple. In any case, given Apple’s heavy focus on this area, it looks like what we’ve seen so far concerning well-being in iOS 10 is only the beginning.