We’ve been hesitant to post any rumours of the upcoming iOS 8 update due to lack of convincing evidence, but we’re fairly confident in the authenticity of 9to5Mac’s latest leak.
According to sources close to the website, Apple will debut a new feature called Healthbook, similar in scope to Passbook but aimed at consolidating health, fitness and wearable features. Along with new sensors that will reportedly launch in the new iPhones, apps will be able to take advantage of the data from the M7 chip co-processor inside the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.
Healthbook will reportedly be able to report heart rate, hydration levels, blood pressure, calories burned, food intake, blood sugar, sleep levels, oxygen saturation and weight, though it’s unclear how the device may acquire these multitudinous data points without external hardware. Recently, a $200 iPhone case, Wello by Azoi, debuted with sensors that would allow users to read blood pressure, ECK, blood oxygen, temperature, lung function and heart rate, so it’s possible Apple could incorporate similar functionality into the iPhone’s casing.
Healthbook would rely on external apps as well as first-party software to derive these data points, which would be tracked over time in a format similar to other iOS 7-styled fitness apps. Users may be given an opportunity to enter information about their health and body type, from height to weight to relative fitness levels, to determine a broad measure of healthiness, and would make recommendations for improvement. Many of Passbook’s features may only be accessible when paired with accompanying equipment, such as Made For iPhone-certified wearables and exercise equipment.
As for sleep tracking, it’s unclear whether Apple will encourage users to physically sleep with their iPhones or partner with wearable companies like Fitbit or Jawbone to acquire that information. It’s also possible that by the launch of the next iPhone Apple would have announced a wearable product of their own.
Finally, users will be able to enter the emergency contact information of a friend or family member, which would be used by personnel in the event of injury. Apple has been focusing on improving the lives of its users in holistic ways, as evinced by the presence of the M7 co-processor, so it will be interesting to see whether Healthbook comes to fruition in iOS 8 — or if it is launched at all.
Other rumoured improvements to iOS 8 include an overhaul of the messaging app, a better Notification Center, a better Maps app with transit directions built in, a stand-alone iTunes Radio app (hopefully with a simultaneous launch in Canada), and a file manager for iCloud.