Apple is set to transform the mobile health market, setting industry standards just as its earlier foray into smartphones with the iPhone did, according to medical devices analysts.
The company is gearing up to launch the next version of its iOS operating system on 9th September and this will include its long-rumoured Health app, building on the HealthKit developer tools it released in June, and possibly a new wearable device.
HealthKit is central to Apple’s Health success because it allows health and fitness apps to communicate with each other and thus lets users plug them into the new Health app.
In this way Apple hopes that its app will piggyback off established health and fitness apps to provide a more comprehensive picture for users of their health and fitness.
Analysts GlobalData expect the market for mobile Health, or mHealth, technologies to be worth $11.8bn by 2018, up from the $3bn it was valued at in 2013.
Linda Tian, who covers medical devices, said: “GlobalData believes Apple’s strategy to unite medical applications, electronic health records and peripheral devices through a platform … will be a major milestone in the wave of technology-healthcare alliances.
“In addition, Apple’s timely market penetration and established consumer engagement strategies will potentially enable the company to set the industry standards for future developments, similar to how it revolutionised the smartphone space.”
As the noise around the release builds Apple has tightened up its data privacy rules, forbidding developers from selling personal health data to advertisers. Rumours also suggest Apple may release a health-based wearable device at the 9 September event.