|Apple's Health app--Courtesy of Apple|
Apple's HealthKit has left a sour taste in consumers' mouths so far, causing problems during the launch of the much-ballyhooed iPhone 6. The data-sharing platform for mobile health apps was excluded from the phone's initial operating system (iOS 8) due to a bug in its software. It was briefly made available but then pulled from the operating system after the upgrade to iOS 8 disrupted cellular service.
The exclusion of HealthKit upon the phone's launch resulted in a bucketful of delayed app launches or upgrades, including to WebMD's Healthy Target biometric data app, Carrot Fit's workout app and another prominent FDA-cleared medical app that FierceMedicalDevices is aware of.
The snafu is to the benefit of competitors. "HealthKit is just one of many tools that we can use to engage with patients, and there are many others like [Samsung's] SAMI, or Vivametrica," Cleveland Clinic's associate CIO, Dr. Will Morris, told VentureBeat. Cleveland Clinic employs Microsoft HealthVault and has no specific plans to deploy HealthKit at the moment.
Other customers are reporting problems with the upgraded software's Touch ID system used to unlock the phone via fingerprint.
Still, HealthKit appeals to many stakeholders, and the problems are likely temporary. Earlier this month, hospitals affiliated with Stanford and Duke University said they are going to use HealthKit to store diabetics' blood sugar information collected via an iPod Touch.
Bloomberg reports that Apple ($AAPL) has apologized for the error and allowed customers to reinstall the old version of iOS 8. It plans on issuing iOS 8.2 in a few days. Until then, customers will be without HealthKit and the platform's ecosystem of new apps will have to wait to launch. But hopefully the affected iPhone 6 owners will be able talk on and unlock their phones in the meantime.
The precise cause of the bug is not known to the public. A problem with data privacy issues would be especially damaging to the platform's reputation. A major part of Apple's healthcare ambitions, HealthKit stores customer's health app data in a centralized location and enables it to be shared with the company's health app as well as those made by others.