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Could Apple’s iOS 8 Healthbook App Be Hub For Wearables?

Apple’s ambitions to monitor both fitness and health came to light Monday.

The company is working on an iOS app, code-named Healthbook, for iPhones that appears to be a dashboard for health and fitness tracking, according to a report.

Apple’s reported move expands beyond what’s expected of an iWatch in a way that suggests the Mac maker is positioning itself as a hub for fitness and health apps and wearables – even those beyond Apple’s ecosystem.

Healthbook is expected to track blood work, heart rate, hydration, blood pressure, activity, nutrition, blood sugar, sleep, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and other bodily measurements. Images of Healthbook appear much like those of Apple’s Passbook, used for tracking plane tickets and other items.

Similarly, data tracked would be viewable on different colored cards as sections within the Healthbook app, according to a report from 9to5Mac citing multiple sources working on the project. Cards can be arranged by users according to their monitoring habits.

Withings and BHI Technologies – whose popular iOS apps allow people to track blood pressure and blood sugar, respectively – could be included for health monitoring in Healthbook, for example. Likewise, sensors from Apple’s long-expected iWatch could provide steps and other measurements to feed into the “activity” card. The “activity” card is planning to track steps, calories and miles for people. Tracking nutrition puts Jawbone’s UP, which also allows people to input daily food consumption, in Apple’s crosshairs.

Samsung’s expected Galaxy Gear Fit smartwatch and the Withings’ Pulse are devices that target heart rate monitoring. However, like the Basis smartwatch, this data is gathered using LED lights and remains inaccurate when you need it most – when working out. It remains to be seen whether Apple will offer a similar heart rate tracking capability in an iWatch, but its health-related hiring suggests as much.

Apple-focused 9to5Mac said that screenshots provided to the news site suggest the iPhone maker is not currently tracking stress or pregnancy, as has been previously reported. The images also show that Apple is planning to monitor hydration, a new development.

Plans for Apple to release an iWatch in 2014 that tracks activity, perspiration and heart rate, among other functions, have been one of Silicon Valley’s worst kept secrets. The emergence of such an iPhone dashboard app that blends data from its smartwatch and health-tracking apps comes as Apple has been hiring medical device executives and fitness experts.

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

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