Apple iOS 8, iWatch said to focus on health and fitness tracking with help of new Healthbook app

Apple's release of iOS 8 later this year will focus on mobile healthcare and fitness tracking, according to 9to5mac. Health is said to be the software's headline feature, along with an iWatch product that will feature health-tracking sensors.

iOS 8 won't be graphically enhanced, reports 9to5mac who has a great track record reporting on Apple, and will instead be a software update about health, performance, and improving Apple Maps. The software reportedly has a codename of "Okemo" after a ski resort located in Vermont, US. 

An application called "Healthbook" is said to be released bundled in iOS 8 and will have a use similar to the Nike+ Move app released earlier this year. It will count calories, steps taken, and track weightloss through the iPhone's M7 motion tracking processor (presumably M8 in the next iPhone version). Additionally, with the help of the iWatch's sensors, users will be able to track vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate through the app that's said to carry a similar look to Passbook. 

Apple executives Jeff Williams, senior vice president of operations, Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology at Apple, and Michael O’Reilly, part of Apple’s government affairs department, met with members of the United States Food and Drug Administration in December to discuss mobile medical applications. The New York Times reports the meeting was likely about Apple laying the groundwork for an iWatch release later this year. 

Neither reports offer details about the iWatch's hardware. Previous rumours have said the Cupertino company has been testing different sizes of OLED displays. It was thought this was to find out the perfect size through testing on prototypes, but a November report from the Korea Herald said both 1.3-inch and 1.7-inch OLED panels were to be utilised to offer different size choices.

9to5mac says past health and fitness, the iWatch will also focus on mapping. 

Speaking on a year-end conference call with investors in 2013, Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at new product categories during 2014. Industry analysts and pundits have long pegged the smartwatch as the device to be released.