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Apple unveils HealthKit app as part of new iOS

Apple Hosts Its Worldwide Developers ConferenceApple Hosts Its Worldwide Developers Conference
Apple's new iOS 8 includes HealthKit, a health-monitoring app.Justin Sullivan Getty Images

After giving a crowd of a few thousand software developers the first look at Yosemite, the new operating system for Macs, the annual Apple (AAPL) Worldwide Developer Conference turned its attention to its updated mobile platform: iOS 8.

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a brief introduction to the new iOS 8 platform for mobile devices that included a few digs at Android and a boast that Apple has sold more than 800 million iOS devices. Cook said Apple could not be happier with the performance of its iOS products, but added that the company is “not standing still.”

Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi then took the stage to walk through the new features of iOS 8, including HealthKit – a health-monitoring app that is supported by the Mayo Clinic and several other hospitals and institutions. HealthKit can sync with various fitness apps to track users’ personal fitness goals and also tracks vital health statistics that it can share with doctors and patients.

The health-monitoring app was one item many prognosticators expected to be revealed at Monday’s event, with another being the connected home app HomeKit. Federighi said Apple worked with “leaders in home automation devices” to create HomeKit, an app that allows users to connect with appliances and systems installed in their homes to perform actions such as dimming lights, locking doors or adjusting the thermostat. The app, which uses secure pairing to limit access only to one user’s mobile device, allows you to connect with devices on an individual basis, or you can create various scenarios where a group of devices are meant to react at once, an option that can be activated by issuing a voice command to Siri.

Federighi also unveiled a “family sharing” function that will make it easier to share content such as photographs and calendar information with family members. And, another new function will send parents a notification and ask for their permission whenever one of their children wants to buy an app.

The iOS 8 also features a new QuickType function that offers “predictive typing suggestions” by learning what kind of language users tend to use with different contacts. “I think we’re all going to be typing a whole lot faster,” Federighi told the San Francisco crowd.

The new operating system’s messaging app will also allow device holders to share their locations with any contacts in a particular message thread.

Federighi also announced that photographs can now be synced with iCloud, making all photos available across all devices. The new photos app will be available on Macs early next year.

The new iOS 8 will be available in the fall.