unwraps 'Healthkit' alongside Mac, iPhone features
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[June 03, 2014] By
Christina Farr and Edwin Chan
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -
Apple Inc on Monday took the wraps off mobile
applications that pool and analyze health and home data,
kicking off an annual developers' conference lacking in
big surprises, despite hopes the iPhone maker would
offer a glimpse into its secretive pipeline of products.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and software-engineering boss Craig
Federighi told several thousand developers about new features that
come with the latest "Yosemite" Mac platform and iOS8, the software
that powers the iPhone and iPad.
Apple shares slid 0.7 percent to close at $628.65.
Investors are waiting for Cook to keep a promise to create new
product categories. Last week, Internet services chief Eddy Cue said
the pipeline was the best he had seen in more than two decades.
"The Healthkit has the most potential for the future," said Nils
Kassube, a director of development at Newscope, a Germany-based
consulting firm. "Those of us that are interested in health need a
platform for sharing information."
On Monday, executives talked about "Healthkit," which will pull
together data such as blood pressure and weight now collected by a
growing number of healthcare apps on the iPhone or iPad. The company
also announced an app, dubbed "Health" that will be an integral part
of iOS 8.
The company will work in tandem with Nike Inc, a major player in
fitness tracking, and the Mayo Clinic on the new feature, which will
be included in the latest mobile software.
"That information lives in silos," said Federighi. "You can't get a
single comprehensive picture."
Apple did not elaborate on other capabilities. The news follows
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's announcement of its own mobile
Federighi also described "homekit," a feature that allows an Apple
device to control everything from lights to temperature.
Apple has one of the most dedicated software communities in the tech
industry, with more than 9 million registered developers. Every
year, the iPhone maker and rival Google Inc, whose Android mobile
devices comprise an estimated four-fifths of all smartphones sold
globally, show the latest software enhancements to thousands of
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Apple described how "Yosemite" will come with a much-improved
Internet storage application similar to those provided by Box or
Dropbox; how users can pick up calls to iPhones from their Macs; and
how Apple devices would sync constantly with each other, allowing
users to pick up on their Mac where they left off on their iPhone.
While few cutting-edge consumer devices or features were unveiled,
analysts said Apple's focus this year was providing tools to
developers such as a new programming language called "Swift" that it
said was more efficient.
"These developers are sort of make or break for Apple," said
Forrester analyst Frank Gillett. "You have a growing variety of
systems where you need developers and content creators to make great
stuff for Apple."
(Reporting by Christina Farr; Editing by Chris Reese, Richard Chang
and Andre Grenon)
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