There’s nothing like a little health app in your pocket that will encourage you to change your lifestyle — or at least that's what Apple's newest plan aims to be. The new iPhone fitness tracker, Healthbook, is still in the works, but its purpose is to bring the details of personal health tracking to the palm of your hand — in an all-in-one feature that tracks everything from the number of steps you take, to your oxygen saturation levels.
Healthbook will be Apple’s first step into the mobile health and fitness world, with a design and user interface that is similar to the iPhone’s Passbook app. Passbook is akin to a digital wallet, which houses movie tickets, coupons, and gift cards all in one place. Healthbook, meanwhile, will be able to track fitness factors in different colored cards, sorted as tabs you can flip through. These sections will track personal data involving hydration, heart rate, bloodwork, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar (glucose) levels — things normally tracked at the doctors' office. Nifty little graphs will show how your daily activities compare to your overall weekly or monthly fitness pace.
The "fitness" tracking is comprised of three main tabs: Activity, Weight, and Nutrition. Activity tracks the number of steps you take, the number of calories you burn, and the miles you walk every day. The Weight tab allows people to put in their height and weight, and tracks BMI (body mass index) as well as fat percentage.
But what makes Healthbook novel is its ability to monitor your blood and blood sugar levels, something that could be incredibly useful for people living with diabetes, who need to keep track of glucose in their blood. “The blood monitoring capabilities of Healthbook are perhaps the most unique and important elements of the application,” an article on 9to5mac reads. Apple hired medical experts to help design these features, such as Dr. Michael O’Reilly, who specializes in pulse oximeters, which is used to measure oxygen saturation (another thing that Healthbook can monitor). Healthbook would be able to track the percentage of oxygen in your blood, which is handy in understanding the quality of your breathing and respiratory rate.
Type 1 diabetics must check their glucose levels about six times a day, according to Joe Madden, who created the blood sugar app Gluco-Share. Ideally, Healthbook would become a central solution for people who need to monitor their glucose levels, even though there are numerous glucose apps out there, Madden told 9to5mac.
Healthbook would also come equipped with the ability to measure your hydration levels — letting you know how much water is currently in your body and if you need to drink more, and also with an "emergency card" that lists all of your personal and medical information.
Of course, there are other health and fitness apps that have already become quite popular. Coach Alba, for example, is a text-messaging robot that talks you down from eating when you’re not supposed to be eating. It’s meant to help you through “crucial moments” when you’re on a diet. But Healthbook aims to be all of these things in one consolidated folder in your phone. The question is: Will people really gravitate to Healthbook for all of its consolidated features, or will they remain loyal to all the other nifty fitness apps? Apple is currently testing Healthbook using iOS 8, which will be the newest version of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
"With hundreds of millions of existing iPhones and many more to be sold, Apple has the unique opportunity to recreate the health and fitness tracking market by pre-installing Healthbook in a future software update," 9to5mac writes. "After revamping the music, smartphone, and computing worlds with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Apple's next big insight could be software for improving people's lives."