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It seems crazy to be talking about iOS 8 so early in the year.

But this weekend’s news that Apple is readying a so-called Healthbook app as the platform’s headline function is a major development.

Not simply because it shows where Cupertino is heading with its new version of the OS, but also because it says everything we need to know about the forthcoming iWatch too.

Chat about the iWatch being fitness-focused has been doing the rounds for months.

Apple has hired former Nike staff to help it develop the device and Tim Cook hasn’t been shy about discussing the future of iOS in terms of health and fitness.

nike tomtom watch

Healthbook, though, is beyond what many imagined.

As well as standard fitness app functions, such as tracking distance, pace and calories burned, this app will apparently be able to work out other vital measures of wellbeing.

How? Well most likely via a sensor in the iWatch, serving up heart rate, blood pressure and even glucose levels.

There’s more too. Input what medication you’re taking and Apple’s app will serve-up reminders on when to take it and the dosage.

There are big questions which remain. What is Nike’s role in this?

Tim Cook at Apple keynote

Cook, after all, is on the board at the sports giant and its fitness app is baked into the iPod nano.

Is this going to be a partnership or will Apple be going it alone?

If it’s using Nike’s expertise, then there’s every chance this will be a cut above anything else on the market.

The main thing, though, is that this will make the iWatch irresistible.

This level of fitness tracking is already available, but there’s no denying that Apple will make it far more appealing with Healthbook at the forefront.

Samsung Galaxy Gear

An iWatch that has this level of skills will sell in the millions and push Apple’s rivals harder than they could ever have imagined.

Samsung will probably have outed its Galaxy Gear 2 by the time the iWatch launches.

But it needs Apple’s effort to hit shelves before smartwatches really become a mainstream proposition.

With Apple using former Nike staff and Jony Ive’s design nous, it’s hard to see how anyone is going to be able to offer something of similar value.

iOS 8 is going to be the enabler which makes the iWatch this year’s must have mobile accessory.

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