Latest iPhone will lead to a new generation of health and fitness apps
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, speaks on stage during the introduction of the new iPhone 5c in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:08PM EDT
The addition of a second processor, dedicated to tracking motion and location, in the iPhone 5S will mean developers can build standalone apps that don't need wristbands or other accessories for measuring steps taken or distance traveled.
The first of these apps, Nike+ Move, was showcased during the newest iPhone's official launch event in California on Tuesday and is said by Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller to be "coming soon" to the App Store.
The new M7 processor, which is debuting inside Apple's latest flagship handset, is able to gather data from each of the phone's sensors -- accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and GPS -- even when the device is on standby, in order to track a user's movement throughout the day. It can tell if he or she is walking, running or traveling in a car and that data can now be harvested by developers who want to create apps focused on fitness.
The Nike app has been described as offering the same features and performance as its fuel band app+wristband package, but without the need for any external device or Bluetooth tethering. The information even feeds into Apple's Games Center so that app users can compete with friends, set goals and track performance.
According to the latest report from Juniper Research, published on Wednesday, the smartphone is set to take center stage in the mHealth sector as the now-ubiquitous devices become the hubs for health-monitoring apps and associated connected hardware devices.
Juniper forecasts that by 2018 there will be 96 million users of app-enabled mHealth and mobile-fitness hardware devices, up from 15 million this year. In the healthcare sector, app-enabled mHealth will be used to enable services ranging from remote patient monitoring to mobile ultrasound services.
But it is in the fitness and quantified-self sector where the biggest growth is expected. Juniper believes that there is a clear motivated consumer market for these types of applications and that the choice of apps and accessories and the perfomenace of smartphones is becoming greater and more diverse.
"As mobile fitness devices become more widespread, they will pave the way for more critical mHealth services delivered through the smartphone," says the report's author Anthony Cox. "While mHealth and mobile fitness are two discrete markets -- with divergent audiences -- increased usage of the former will stimulate wider awareness of the latter."