Apple bans developers from selling HealthKit data to ad platforms

By Brian Dolan
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iwatch patentLate last week the Financial Times (sub. req.) reported that Apple had modified its iOS developer license agreement, its rules for developers that create apps for its devices, to ban developers from selling health data collected by HealthKit.

The company wrote that developers must “not sell an end-user’s health information collected through the HealthKit API to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers", according to the report. The agreement further demands that developers not use HealthKit's API or the information collected from it “for any purpose other than providing health and/or fitness services”.

In June Google announced its plans for Google Fit, a similar but more fitness-focused platform to Apple's HealthKit, which already boasts partnerships with EHR vendors and various health systems across the country. A column in Forbes argued that Google was the most likely of the recent health tracking platform entrants to use the personal data collected via the platform to target ads. 

"There’s a major advertising opportunity for Google to aggregate our health data in a realm outside of traditional search, observers say, but the company will need to downplay that business opportunity for the next year or more," the Forbes post stated.

If the Google monetization prediction is true, the move to ban HealthKit developers from using targeted ads and sharing data with third parties certainly helps Apple to draw a line in the sand from the competition.

In recent days a few reported details about Apple's long-rumored iWatch device also emerged. Apple announced plans for an event next Tuesday where rumor has it the company will a new iPhone -- that comes in two different screen sizes -- and a wearable device.

Tech blog Re/Code reported, however, that the wearable device will not ship until next year, which means Apple's new device might miss the holiday shopping season. Instead the iWatch, or whatever it comes to be called, won't ship until early 2015.

Re/Code also reported that Apple executives are discussing a $400 pricepoint for the iWatch, which may end up having a number of different models with different prices. At $400 Apple's iWatch would be one of the most expensive wearable devices on the market.

While expectations for the rumored wearable have generally lowered since the first scoops about the iWatch emerged -- back when the device was rumored to offer a wide range of biometric sensing capabilities -- health sensing and tracking is still expected to be a core offering of the device.