Apple Targets Health Tech
US tech giant Apple announced a slew of software innovations at its annual conferences for developers in San Francisco this week, revealing software that aims to create a central platform for personal health and fitness data.
The iPhone maker announced a new consumer-focused app called Health, which will help iOS users collect, store and track all their healthcare data from various third-party apps in one place. Powering the app is a new software kit – HealthKit – which will collate data from third-party apps to allow developers to build bespoke digital products for the health and fitness market.
James Chandler, mobile director at global media agency Mindshare, believes Apple's foray into health and fitness tracking may finally take the industry into the mainstream. "The data that these things are going to produce – we've never known this data before," he said in an interview with Stylus. "As that data gets surfaced, it presents a massive opportunity for brands."
He suggested advertisers could use this data to offer rewards to people for walking further or exercising more. Take a look at Alfa-Bank's reward programme for active customers for inspiration.
Many analysts see Apple's announcement as preparation for the release of related hardware. "This almost certainly paves the way for some kind of wearable tech," said Chandler, suggesting a pair of smart headphones could be on the horizon.
He cited a patent filed by Apple earlier this year for a pair of headphones that can sense the wearer's temperature, activity levels, heart rate and perspiration, and the firm's recent acquisition of American headphone brand, Beats.
Last week, rival South Korean firm Samsung announced its own health data platform, alongside plans for a new health-tracking prototype wristband.
Apple's new software will be available to iOS users in the autumn. For more health-related technology innovations, take a look at Wired Health 2014, and look out for more healthcare reporting from the upcoming Cannes Lions festival for the creative communications industry.