The iPhone 6 is rumored to drop in September but in the meantime, development details continue to leak. The iOS 8 platform appears to be chock full of fitness and outdoor sports features, including the latest news that Apple will embed some form of heart rate monitor and a barometer into the phone.
Why is a barometer significant? Coupled with a GPS, the barometer can give more accurate altitude data for use by hikers, bikers, cyclists, and climbers. Using air pressure data, a barometer can also measure temperature and provide weather information, something most of us only expect from a high-end GPS watch at the moment. No word yet on how this will affect overall battery performance of your phone.
In addition to the iPhone 6, Apple announced HealthKit at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month. HealthKit is a system that can collect information from various sources, such as a your Fitbit account, Nike running app, Strava app, or wireless scale, and present it as a single, more complete health and fitness profile. HealthKit will be able to communicate with third-party apps, sharing data from other sources that could be used to enhance the offering of a single app. For example, if your Fitbit account showed you did not sleep well last night, Strava could correlate that information with your less than stellar performance that day.
Don’t expect Google to sit back and let Apple take the lead on fitness and health tracking. The company is expected to reveal their new Google Fit health data tracking service at the Google I/O developers conference this week. Similar to HealthKit, Google Fit will collect and aggregate data from popular fitness trackers and health-related apps, allowing a wearable device or apps on your phone to interface with Google’s cloud-based services and become part of the Google Fit ecosystem.
I personally welcome this move towards full data integration. Not only is it nice to cut down on the number of devices you need to take with you outdoors, but a way to collate all the data you collect on a daily basis into one meaningful picture of your overall fitness and health is long overdue.