Home Apple Launches HealthKit To Share Vital Stats With Nike, Mayo Clinic

Apple Launches HealthKit To Share Vital Stats With Nike, Mayo Clinic

I sometimes sport as many as four wearable devices. And my Exercise With It folder on my iPhone goes on for four screens. So I’m a prime candidate for the new health software Apple just unveiled.  

“The information gathered by [health and fitness] applications lives in silos,” said Apple executive Craig Federighi in a keynote presentation at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which is taking place this week in San Francisco.

As part of a set of new features in iOS 8, Apple’s newest version of its software for iPhones and iPads, Federighi presented HealthKit, a new feature in iOS 8, and an accompanying Health app.

Apple is initially partnering with Nike and the Mayo Clinic to incorporate HealthKit in their apps. But the company is hoping to get other hardware and software developers to link HealthKit as well.

An Unhealthy Lack Of Standards

The problem Apple will run into: No one agrees on how to measure even very simple health metrics, like the amount of activity one engages in every day. Is it minutes of activity, as apps like MyFitnessPal and Human prefer? Made-up, proprietary metrics like Nike’s Fuel or Under Armour’s Willpower? Or steps, as made popular by various pedometer devices like those made by Fitbit and Jawbone? And how will Apple reconcile all of those together into a single store?

Sleep quality, likewise, is fraught with disagreement: What constitutes “light” or “restful” sleep? Can devices tell by motion whether or not you’re really asleep—or lying still, eyes wide open?

Even heart rate, which you’d think could be reduced to a single number, is actually a complex graph over time, and devices and software disagree about how often to sample it and how to account for irregularities in the biological signals that we measure.

Apple has a lot of work to do—which means HealthKit is just a beginning, not a cure for what ails the digital-fitness industry.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.