Along with the upcoming iOS 8, which is expected to be launched publicly in conjunction with the iPhone 6 this fall, Apple will be releasing HealthKit, an application programming interface (API) that will allow application development companies to work on health care-related apps which will tie in with the HealthKit framework. Among the new benefits of such a platform, according to Bloomberg, will be the chance for businesses of all sizes to reward healthy lifestyles among their employees. The Affordable Care Act has detailed by law what bonuses companies can give to workers who adhere to healthy practices, which opens up an array of new technological possibilities.
While a lot of the HealthKit reporting has revolved around speculation that Apple could be close to revealing its long-rumored iWatch, which would monitor the wearer's vital signs and habits, the API should also encourage companies that deal in mobile software development to take advantage of an unprecedented level of integration with iOS 8. With the Mayo Clinic and Nike already contributing to HealthKit, Apple is now in talks with major health care providers Humana and UnitedHealth, and their inclusion would further increase the platform's appeal to businesses and developers alike.
Indeed, one of Apple's goals in introducing HealthKit and HomeKit, a similar platform for controlling devices in one's home, is to encourage custom application development. HealthKit, in particular, should prove especially attractive to small and medium-sized businesses on both ends of the app development process. For developers, it's an opportunity to work on new apps directly within the Apple framework, and for all others it could usher in a brand new age of healthy living for employees who could see both health and monetary rewards for their efforts.