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Apple met with FDA, reportedly working on 'Healthbook' for iOS 8

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Apple Store cube stock 1020
Apple Store cube stock 1020

Some of Apple's top executives met with officials from the US Food and Drug Administration last month, something that — together with new software rumors — could signal a new direction for the company's upcoming products. Apple's senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams, as well as the company's vice president of software technologies Bud Tribble met with the FDA on December 13th to discuss "mobile medical applications," reports The New York Times. The meeting appeared on the agency's public calendar, and shows that Apple met with Margaret Hamburg, the FDA's commissioner of food and drugs.

Passbook for your body

Separately, 9to5Mac now says that Apple is currently working on its own health-focused effort dubbed "Healthbook" with a variation of iOS designed specifically around tracking personal health metrics. That software is said to look and act similar to Apple's existing Passbook software, but store details about personal health statistics, like heart rate and blood pressure. It could also be included in the next major release of iOS (presumably called iOS 8), and be an integral part in Apple's wearables project.

The FDA meeting comes just weeks after revelations that Google also met with the agency to discuss its own health-related project, which aims to monitor personal health through tiny sensors in contact lenses. Unlike the Apple meeting, which remains a secret, Google's said it aims to get other manufacturers involved in bringing a finished product to market.

Apple has hired several notable small device, fitness, and medical experts in the past few months, according to reports. Several of those individuals have worked on health sensors, suggesting Apple's working on its own solution to monitor the human body. The company already began moving in that direction with its A7 chip and M7 motion co-processor, which Apple said will help health and fitness apps by providing enhanced contextual awareness of activity. Some companies, including Fitbit — a company that makes its own fitness tracker — have already started using it to turn the iPhone 5S into a dedicated tracker.