Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Apple, HealthKit and the Walled Garden

Somewhere between a bang and a whimper, Apple announced its HealthKit platform.

This being revealed at the company's developer conference, Apple didn't talk about any consumer hardware. Instead its focus was to talk briefly about how the platform unifies multiple health metrics.

Combined with Apple's linked and overarching Health app, it looks like the baseline configuration won't offer anything different that the current generation of health trackers - tracking calories, sleep, heart rate etc - plus what looks like more comprehensive medical metrics, listed as ominously as Diagnostics. Lab Results and Medical ID.

Apple has said that HealthKit will be open to thirdparties, mentioning for example the Nike+ fitness platform. But the point of the platform is that within iOS, you'll be able to share whatever data you're monitoring with integrated apps, including links to professional healthcare providers.

US regional provider Mayo Clinic has been particularly keen to praise the move.

Perhaps the biggest unanswered question, however, is how open the data is, particularly in the longterm?

Obviously there's a privacy issue involved in terms of how medical data is shared and made available in the short-term, but equally, given Apple's proprietary nature (aka The Walled Garden), it seems unlikely it's adopting open industry standards, which as I've argued is a main longterm concern with this sort of fitness and health data.

And maybe, as important, it's not clear how Apple's iOS 8-centric approach will en/discourage the wider health and fitness app industry, which is something that will require support for Android and the web.

After all, we're not going to be using Apple hardware for the rest of our lives. 

1 comment:

  1. In today's world, personal health and fitness is important. Personal trainers everywhere are in the business. The Apple iPhone seems to have its grips on everything when it comes to apps. The same applies when it comes to health and physical fitness. Fitness apps are a convenient and affordable way of acquiring an workout program.

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