Rumored ‘Healthbook’ App for iOS 8 Suggests Significant Health Component to iWatch

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Roundup ios7Apple is developing a new app expected to be released alongside iOS 8 that collects and organizes information and data points related to the users health, including fitness statistics from the new M7 processor in the iPhone 5s, and possibly other data collected from a new wearable product, reports 9to5Mac.

The app, reportedly called Healthbook, will be a preinstalled app that can track data points including a user’s blood pressure, hydration, heart rate and potentially other statistics like glucose levels. It could also remind users to take medications at certain times during the day.

The “Healthbook” application is said to take multiple user interface cues from Apple’s own Passbook app, which is software for storing loyalty cards, coupons, and other materials normally stored in physical wallets.

The new health and fitness application’s interface is a stack of cards that can be easily swiped between. Each card represents a different fitness or health data point. The prototype logo for “Healthbook” is similar to Passbook’s icon, but it is adorned with graphics representing vital signs.

9to5Mac also reports that Apple is designing iOS 8 with the iWatch in mind, saying that sources suggest the iWatch and iPhone will be “heavily reliant” on each other for health tracking. The iWatch will also include some mapping abilities as well.

The site suggests that the iWatch will include the ability to measure statistics that the Healthbook app can measure — including glucose levels and heart rate — though nothing concrete is known. It does say that sources suggest Apple has been able to combine several different health sensors into one chipset in order to make them all smaller.

Apple is also working on significant new features for its Maps app, including transit directions, though that feature still has significant amounts of work to be done and is not a “lock” to be included in iOS 8, claims the site.

The New York Times reported earlier today that several Apple executives met with the FDA last month to discuss mobile medical applications. One expert said the meeting could be “to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps” or “that Apple has been trying to push something through the F.D.A. for a while and they’ve had hangups.”

Apple has made a number of health-related hires in the past year, including employees with expertise in health sensors and other mobile health devices.

iOS 8 is expected to be previewed at WWDC in June, while the iWatch — which 9to5Mac says is “well into development” — and new models of the iPhone are expected in the second half of the year.

    



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Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson: ‘Execution is What Really Matters,’ Apple is the Best

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Earlier this month, Walter Isaacson, the man who wrote the best-selling biography of Steve Jobs, garnered some attention when he told a CNBC interviewer that the “greatest innovation today” was coming from Google, not Apple.

Yesterday, Isaacson did an interview with Bloomberg TV, where he clarified his original statement and noted that while he believes Google is the more innovative company, with a clearer integrated strategy, Apple is better than Google at bringing products to fruition.

isaacson

I will say one thing about the comment I made about Google being the most innovative. Innovation is great, but it ain’t everything. It’s not the whole equation. Execution is what really matters. Apple is the best at execution.

During the interview, Isaacson also commented on the iPhone 5c and Apple’s ability to make lower cost products, noting that he believes Apple’s unwavering focus on quality will not allow it to produce subpar products to compete in the low end device market.

I don’t think Apple will ever be great at doing low end. It really makes insanely great products to use the phrase Steve used 30 years ago, when he launched the Mac. What I think is going to have to happen is that they’re going to have to figure out a whole new set of disruptive products.

You’ve heard Tim Cook hint about that; whether it’s television or a wearable watch, I don’t think Apple’s going to do well trying to be in the commodity low end race with Samsung and others.

Apple made one of its first attempts into the mid-range market with the 2013 debut of the iPhone 5c, which it sold for $100 less than its flagship iPhone 5c. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently revealed that the launch of the iPhone 5c resulted in some inventory problems for the company, as it had underestimated people’s desire for the iPhone 5s.

The company expected a more balanced demand for both phones, which led to iPhone 5s inventory shortages. Due to the lack of demand for the iPhone 5c, it remains unclear if Apple will continue on with both a higher-end and a mid-tier phone for future releases. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggested that while Apple will release two phones in the future, it will abandon plastic casings.

As Isaacson suggested, Apple is rumored to be working on several products that have the potential to be “disruptive.” The company is said to be close to the launch of a revamped Apple TV product that will incorporate games, which could severely impact the existing console market, and the much-rumored Apple smart watch is also on the horizon.

    



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Protestors Rally Against ‘Candy Crush Saga’ Developer with Deluge of Candy-Themed Games

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

King, the developer behind mega-hit Candy Crush Saga, was recently awarded a UK trademark on the term “candy” for use in video games and is awaiting approval on a similar trademark in the United States. With Apple in some cases assisting King in targeting apps with “candy” in their names, developers unhappy with King’s IP strategy have responded with a protest that is seeking to flood the iOS App Store with candy-themed games, according to reports from Pocket-lint and Slate.

candy-crush-saga
Organized by the Candy Jam website, the group exhorts game developers to “fight trademark trolling” by making a candy-themed game between now and February 3. The game-making jam is meant to protest the trademark system and King’s aggressive business tactics, and developers have already submitted more than 100 apps with different combinations of the words “candy,” “saga,” “scroll,” “apple” and more.

King CEO and co-founder Riccardo Zacconi says the company is “not trying to control the world’s use of the word candy,” clarifying that King will only use the trademark “to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.” Zacconi also defends his company against allegations that it released a game, Pac-Avoid, that cloned an existing game from developer Stolen Goose. Zacconi explains the company “should never have published Pac-Avoid” and has apologetically pulled it from its website.

    



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Protestors Rally Against ‘Candy Crush Saga’ Developer with Deluge of Candy-Themed Games

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

King, the developer behind mega-hit Candy Crush Saga, was recently awarded a UK trademark on the term “candy” for use in video games and is awaiting approval on a similar trademark in the United States. With Apple in some cases assisting King in targeting apps with “candy” in their names, developers unhappy with King’s IP strategy have responded with a protest that is seeking to flood the iOS App Store with candy-themed games, according to reports from Pocket-lint and Slate.

candy-crush-saga
Organized by the Candy Jam website, the group exhorts game developers to “fight trademark trolling” by making a candy-themed game between now and February 3. The game-making jam is meant to protest the trademark system and King’s aggressive business tactics, and developers have already submitted more than 100 apps with different combinations of the words “candy,” “saga,” “scroll,” “apple” and more.

King CEO and co-founder Riccardo Zacconi says the company is “not trying to control the world’s use of the word candy,” clarifying that King will only use the trademark “to prevent others from creating games that unfairly capitalise on our success.” Zacconi also defends his company against allegations that it released a game, Pac-Avoid, that cloned an existing game from developer Stolen Goose. Zacconi explains the company “should never have published Pac-Avoid” and has apologetically pulled it from its website.

    



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Apple CEO Tim Cook Heads to Ireland to Visit Government Officials, Company Facilities

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently in Ireland visiting the company’s facilities in Cork and preparing to meet with government officials this afternoon, according to a report from TheJournal.ie. The specific reason for Cook’s visit is unknown, but Apple has maintained a significant presence in the country for several decades.

The CEO of Apple will be meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny later today after addressing staff in the company’s Cork office this morning.

Tim Cook spoke to employees in Apple’s Hollyhill premises about the firm’s future plans. The Taoiseach will take a tour of the facility later today and meet with Cook.

apple_hollyhill_corkApple’s Hollyhill facilities in Cork, Ireland (Reuters/Michael MacSweeney)
Apple, which has 4,000 employees at its Hollyhill facility, has used its Irish base for decades as its home for operations in Europe and elsewhere, with the company coming under scrutiny last year for its corporate structure funneling revenue through subsidiaries located in the country in order to minimize its tax burden.

Apple has steadily increased its workforce in Cork as the company has grown in recent years, and Cook and Kenny are likely meeting to at least help maintain the long-standing relationship between Apple and Irish officials, perhaps with an eye on the company’s future plans.

Earlier this month, Cook traveled to China to help launch sales of the iPhone on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier.

    



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Web Storage Company Box Secretly Files for IPO [iOS Blog]

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

box-logoOnline storage company Box has secretly filed for an IPO, according to Quartz and the Wall Street Journal. Box last year raised $100 million in venture funding and is valued at approximately $2 billion. An IPO could bring an additional $500 million to the company during a time when competition between rival Dropbox is intensifying.

Box is reportedly taking advantage of a provision in the JOBS Act, which allows companies with an annual revenue of less than $1 billion to file its IPO prospectus confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A Box spokesperson declined to comment on the possibility of an IPO.

“We don’t have anything to share at this time. We’re focused on continuing to build our business and expand our customer relationships globally,” a Box spokesman told Quartz in an emailed statement.


Box recently overhauled its iOS app [App Store] and boosted the capacity of its free storage plan for a limited time. Users who download the app between January 15 and February 15, 2014 will receive free 50 GB of online storage for the life of their accounts.

    



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Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Build 13C48 to Developers [Mac Blog]

January 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple today seeded build 13C48 of OS X 10.9.2 to developers, marking the fourth beta iteration of 10.9.2. The release comes a week after the third OS X 10.9.2 beta, build 13C44, and a little over a month after the first OS X 10.9.2 beta.

13c48
The update is available to registered developers through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.

Apple continues to ask developers to focus on mail, messages, graphics drivers, VoiceOver, VPN, and SMB2. Earlier betas of OS X 10.9.2 began allowing Mac users to block people on iMessage and FaceTime, as can be done in iOS 7, and also introduced FaceTime Audio.

    



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