Apple Takes Tentative Steps With HealthKit

Apple this week made its health technology debut with the launch of HealthKit for iOS 8.

The iPhone maker launched HealthKit at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in California, and one analyst sees the initiative as just the beginning of Apple’s health care strategy.

“With HealthKit, Apple takes tentative steps once again to enter a new vertical, in a way that is reminiscent of how Passbook has been an exploratory foray into mobile payments,” said Enrique Velasco-Castillo, analyst for Analysys Mason’s Digital Economy research unit, in a client memo.

But for now, because of worldwide regulatory challenges governing remote doctor-patient interactions, Velasco-Castillo says Apple is staying focused just on enabling health technology. In the meantime, then, Apple is working “to ensure that the underlying infrastructure at the hardware, API, and cloud-services levels (e.g. in-device data compartmentalization, encrypted cloud services) is robust enough before considering venturing into health care services directly.”

On that note, Velasco-Castillo said Apple patents and rumors suggest that the company eventually will launch wearables related to fitness. As it’s pursuing that option, the iPhone maker “seems to be delegating the responsibility for compliance and data security to app developers and third-party device vendors,” said Velasco-Castillo.

HealthKit is a cloud service that logs data recorded by apps or gathered from mobile sensors.

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