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Healthbook rumors could herald first product of Tim Cook's Apple

Dan Moren | March 25, 2014
Everybody seems to be getting into the health technology game these days, and if the rumors that surfaced this past week about iOS 8 prove true, then Apple's jumping in with both feet. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac penned an extensive post on the supposedly forthcoming Healthbook app, which shows Apple taking a page from its own playbook with Passbook and Game Center: a one-stop shop for all the information that falls within its purview.

Everybody seems to be getting into the health technology game these days, and if the rumors that surfaced this past week about iOS 8 prove true, then Apple's jumping in with both feet. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac penned an extensive post on the supposedly forthcoming Healthbook app, which shows Apple taking a page from its own playbook with Passbook and Game Center: a one-stop shop for all the information that falls within its purview.

Of course, Passbook and Game Center have both had mixed responses: The former has picked up steam only slowly; the latter's features are used by plenty of games, but the app itsel — even after Apple ripped up all the felt — has become a bit of a wasteland, relegated by most users to a folder somewhere far, far from the madding crowds of their primary home screen. 

An app like the proposed Healthbook faces plenty of challenges: It's got to be compelling enough for users, and either a significant improvement over the options — both hardware and software — that are already on the market or provide integration for those third parties.

As Apple's leadership likes to point out, one of the company's strengths is its ability to leverage both hardware and software in the creation of its products. Though the M7 chip in the recent iPhone 5s can provide some of the data Apple will want to track, Gurman points out that there's plenty of health-based information that would have to be gathered in other ways, probably — shock! — from some additional device.

Over the past year or so, evidence has increasingly pointed to Apple working on something health-related, from the hirings of fitness and medical technology experts to the (admittedly unreliable) patent filings. Taken individually, these breadcrumbs might not prove anything, but if you follow them diligently, chances are they'll lead you straight into a witch's oven. Metaphorically, of course. 

Combined with Tim Cook's repeated promise of new product categories and the ever popular rumors of an Apple wearable device in the works, it seems clear that whatever is up Apple's sleeve — perhaps, in this case, literally — will feature fitness as a prime component.

Cook's in the kitchen

A new Apple device is enough to pique anybody's interest, but what has me sitting up and taking notice of this putative accessory is that it may very well be the first truly new Apple device that's been developed under Tim Cook's purview. Granted, the company spends a lot of time researching and designing its products, so it's not out of the question that work on an Apple wearable began during Steve Jobs's tenure; even so, Tim Cook's influence can't be ignored. 

 

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