While the dust has settled on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) worldwide developer conference, some new information about the company's push into health monitoring surfaced this week. New documents released by the Food and Drug Administration show just how much Apple is committed to transitioning health tracking away from mere gimmicks to a real gateway for better wearable health monitoring.
A new approach to the same idea
Between Nike's fitness apps, Jawbone fitness bands, heart rate apps, etc., there's been plenty of companies testing out wearable tech in the health market. But as Apple showed last week with its new Health app, the company will pull all of that information, and more, into one single app. Users will be able to allow separate apps to integrate their data into the Health app and even share the information with their doctors.
Given the focus over the past few years on fitness and health apps, Apple's announcement wasn't necessarily a shocking revelation. But what's more important than the Health app itself is how it could be paired with a forthcoming iWatch.
Building a case for the iWatch
When Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, took the stage to talk about the Health app and HealthKit for developers, he made it apparent that the new app is an important development for Apple. Federighi highlighted how the company is working with the Mayo Clinic to make the app an important part of health innovation.
To emphasize this, Federighi put up a quote from the CEO of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. John H. Noseworthy, which said, "We believe Apple's HealthKit will revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people. We are proud to be at the forefront of this innovative technology with the Mayo Clinic app."
But this was more than just puffery coming from Noseworthy. Apple's been working with the FDA to ensure that it stays on the right track with its health ambitions. In recently released FDA documents, Apple said there's "opportunity to do more with devices, and that there may be a moral obligation to do more" with its devices.
Notes from the December 2013 meeting between Apple and the FDA also mentioned that "Apple will work closely with FDA as they develop future products. The earlier FDA is involved and advising, the less likely that Apple would be caught by surprise later when they wish to release a new product, if that product must be regulated."
While this is a general statement, it's very likely that the "product" Apple has in mind is the potential iWatch device, which we could see sometime this fall.
Making wearable health tracking what it should be
Apple's iWatch -- while still a device for consumers not interested in health monitoring -- will likely put the Health app, Apple's experience with Mayo Clinic, and the FDA advice together to bring a truly comprehensive and integrated wearable health device.
Obviously, other companies have already released fitness bands that track motion, and Samsung has released its own smartwatches and Gear Fit band. But if Apple uses its powerful Health app, along with Mayo Clinic and FDA insights, in a wearable device, it may be able to leapfrog the current competition. And if Apple can do that, then it'll prove the Mayo Clinic's CEO true, and we might have a real health revolution on our hands.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.