As the industry waits to see if Apple will launch a much-anticipated iWatch this September, a new licence agreement suggests the firm is tightening its privacy rules- meaning advertisers will not have access to user’s personal health data to serve them ads.
Ahead of its upcoming media launch on September 9, at which the group is expected to unveil new iPhones and possibly a wearable device, Apple has also updated the privacy rules for its HealthKit suite of fitness apps.
The technology firm has told developers that their apps, which would use Apple’s “HealthKit” platform on the forthcoming products, must not sell any personal data they gather to advertisers. The move could stave off concerns users might have around privacy as Apple seeks to move into the health data business.
Apple announced in June this year that a new standard app called “Health” will collect data on blood pressure, heart rate, and stats on diet and exercise.
The license agreement states that developers who build apps that tap into HealthKit, (whichj includes Nike) can collect the data it holds.
However, developers “must not sell an end-user’s health information collected through the HealthKit APIs to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers”.
Although, the rules add that they could share their data with “third parties for medical research purposes” as long as they get users’ consent.
The rules state:
“Your application must not access the HealthKit APIs unless it is primarily designed to provide health and/or fitness services, and this usage is clearly evident in your marketing text and user interface.
“You and your application may not use the HealthKit APIs, or any information obtained through the HealthKit APIs, for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services in connection with your application (eg not for serving advertising).”
In June, Flurry, a mobile analytics firm recently acquired by Yahoo, reported a 62 per cent increase in usage of health apps, outpacing the wider market’s growth.
Many of those apps, especially if they are free to download, rely on advertising for their income.
“Wish we could say more”
This week, Apple sent out invitations for an event on 9 September that is believed to be the launch of the latest iPhone and a range of wearable technology. In typical Apple fashion, the invitation included the date of the event and the line: “wish we could say more”.
It is anticipated that Apple will launch an iPhone with a larger screen, as well as a new operating system on which it will run.
There are rumours that the company will launch a smartwatch to compete with similar products from Google, LG, and Samsung, among others.
Watch this Apple presentation on how HealthKit works below: