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Apple HealthKit API: The Future of Health & Fitness Apps

The craze of health and fitness apps is on the rise. Don’t believe me? Wake up at 6:00 am and go to your nearby park. You will see number of Early Birds (person) jogging and exercising, with their iPhone and other fitness devices attached to them. These ‘healthy-wealthy-and-wise’ smart-people are keeping a constant track of their heart rate, calories burned, distance covered, etc. in the most digital and accurate way.

The ‘Health is Wealth’ trend is never going out of fashion. In 2013, NPD estimated that the U.S. digital-fitness market, including sales of wearable devices, added up to more than $330 million during that year. In the same year, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society stated that approximately 40,000 health apps were marketed in December.

That’s not all. According to the recent report by Flurry, Health and Fitness Apps Finally Take Off, Fueled by Fitness Fanatics, usage of health and fitness apps grew 62%, as compared to overall apps which grew only 33% between December 2013 and June 2014. And the credit certainly goes to the incredible innovation in health and fitness apps over the past two years; and the rise in the number of Fitness Fanatics, who spend more than three times the average amount of time in health and fitness apps.

Apple Health API- HealthKit

Seeing the accelerating demand of an healthy lifestyle, Apple introduced HealthKit at the WWDC 2014 in San Francisco. For all who are unaware about HealthKit API- it is a body monitoring system tool for iOS Developers, that allows Health and Fitness Mobile Apps to share their biometrics data with the new Health app and with each other. Besides offering a rich set of unit conversion functions, the health API supports duplicated reading by several fitness devices, in which the secondary device data is used to fill the gaps of primary device i.e. the iPhone.

Apple’s Health, a non deletable iOS 8 app, will show individual health-related data like blood pressure, weight, and activity level in one Dashboard. It includes Medical ID with Emergency Card, Sources which pools data from apps and devices, and Health Data with information like Body Measurements, Fitness, Me, Nutrition, Results, Sleep, and Vitals. The Emergency Card has details like blood type, allergies, emergency contact; which can be accessed from the lock screen.

Since health-related data is considered to be the most sensitive information, Apple has left no stones unturned to make the Health App a highly secured platform for users. One can now take granular control by giving or denying access of information at every class of data. In addition, the company announced that health-data will be encrypted and there will not any iCloud back-up. Also has also asked Health and Fitness App Providers to have a strict Privacy Policy at place. This means that they should not use consumer data, which is gathered from its HealthKit program, for advertising or other data-mining purposes.

Why HealthKit can be the Next Big Thing

The future of health and fitness apps definitely looks bright. According to Research and Markets, half of the 3.4 billion smartphone or tablet users worldwide will use mobile health apps by 2017. In addition, ABI also stated that the global market for wearables in health and fitness alone could reach 170 million devices by 2017.

Apple is aggressively derailing the existent fitness tracking devices with by multiple attacks. Apart from the HealthKit API and Health App; Apple Watch, the new smartwatch by Apple, was introduced to the world as the “comprehensive health and fitness device” by Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. With companies like Nike and Epic already prepping to join the Apple race towards revolutionizing the health and fitness industry.

(Sources: Wall Street Journal, Apple, Ian Waring, Yahoo, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune)

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