It’s been a few months now since Apple unveiled their first foray into the multi-trillion dollar health sector with HealthKit, but it’s still difficult to say what they have in mind in the long run. For those who weren’t tracking the WWDC announcements this year, HealthKit is the toolset provided to developers to capture health information (breath and heart rates, nutrition, etc.) and store it in a shared user profile across the device. This profile is visible in the Health app included in iOS 8, providing a central dashboard for all of the information that’s being piped in from any number of applications.
For developers, this makes storing data much more appealing since Apple is taking the security of this data very seriously. Historically, the penalties for failing to secure health data properly have been draconian to the point that companies have avoided trying to store the data entirely for fear of being bankrupted by a minor oversight in their code. There is some risk for developers that making the information that they track accessible to all other apps could be sacrificing a competitive advantage, but the trade-off is likely worthwhile for anybody who doesn’t want to dedicate a huge chunk of resources to software security. In the case of some products, the availability of a shared profile also streamlines the onboarding experience, obviating the need for manual input of any of the metrics already being tracked.
There is a strong incentive for Apple to make this platform attractive to developers as HealthKit users will have a bank of data tied directly to their iOS device, and that data will not be transferrable to a competing product if HealthKit gains significant traction. Considering how much Apple has invested into the technology, though, we likely haven’t seen all they have up their sleeve. While they’ve been tightlipped about their long-term strategy in the health sector, the Apple Watch announcement made it clear that…Continue Reading Article