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While Apple is still very much trying to stabilize iOS 7 into a platform on which it can build, attention is already turning towards what could be part of the iOS 8 experience that is due to land later this year. With the iOS 7 redesign being somewhat on the radical side, all eyes are one where Apple takes its mobile operating system during the next few months.

Now 9to5Mac is citing its own sources in a claim that Apple’s next big push is set to be based on health monitoring, with the unannounced but almost inevitable iWatch set to form the cornerstone of what will be a leap into the unknown for the hardware and software giant.

iOS 8 logo mockup

Based on information from unnamed sources, 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman has lifted the lid on iOS 8′s focus on health, with the new operating system set to receive the capability to read various health-related data from as-yet unannounced hardware accessories. Recent iPhones and iPads already feature technology that can track movement more accurately than previous generations thanks to the new M7 chip they possess, but the inclusion of a sensor-laden iWatch would give iOS 8 considerably more access to the data it needs to build an accurate picture of our overall health.

According to the report, iOS 8 will receive a new app called ‘Healthbook’ that, at least currently, closely resembles the Passbook app pre-installed on every iPhone. With slide-able cards and a colorful interface, the app will aim to make fitness and health tracking as easy as possible while hopefully still offering a powerful alterative to existing products from the likes of Nike and Fitbit.

Nike+ FuelBand SE

While currently under development for a release in iOS 8, Gurman’s sources point out that there is currently no guarantee that iOS 8 will back the health-related features mentioned. Apple has a history of canning features before a new version of iOS ships, with the option of moving the feature to a later release also a viable one. It’s possible Apple would want to launch the health-based features alongside an iWatch announcement, meaning both could be intertwined when it comes to a potential release date. That iWatch is still very much mythical, so we’ll have to see what comes of both rumors with time.

M7-coprocessor

That being said, both the iWatch and health-targeted angle it is set to take are rumors that simply will not go away, and as the saying goes "there’s no smoke without fire." Will the rumors stand the test of time, or will Apple dump both its new iOS 8 features and the accompanying hardware before they ever see the light of day?

We’re going to put our money on the former.

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