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Failure to launch: Apple pulls HealthKit

September 18, 2014

    Dan Diamond, Executive Editor

    The health care industry has eagerly awaited the arrival of Apple's HealthKit, a new software platform intended to be the nexus of health data for millions of Apple users.

    The industry is still waiting.

    Apple on Wednesday pulled HealthKit from its iOS 8 software release, in a last-minute decision that the company chalked up to a back-end bug.

    “We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month," according to an Apple spokesperson.

    As a result of the decision, Apple removed a number of third-party apps from its App Store, including apps developed by WebMD, MyFitnessPal and other firms. Several leading hospitals, including Stanford, Duke, and Mayo Clinic, have all moved to partner with Apple to test HealthKit apps or launch their own. (See this recent coverage of those partnerships.)

    Apple's own Health app, which monitors calorie intake, was included in Wednesday's iOS 8 release--but the delay to HealthKit means that a "crucial section" of the Health app is missing, Parmy Olson writes at Forbes.

    Notably, the Health app's "sources" relies on data from third-party apps, but the HealthKit bug prevents them from correctly syncing. "It would appear that until Apple can fully launch HealthKit, that section of Health will remain empty and the app itself largely unusable (unless users manually add data points like weight or body temperature)," Olson writes.

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