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  • Apple has just released beta 3 for iOS 8 developers for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
  • The company has made significant enhancements to its upcoming Health app for iOS 8.
  • This confirms our opinion that medical device companies will increasingly depend on third-party apps running on iOS.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has bolstered its upcoming iOS 8 Health app with on-device steps, distance tracking and caffeine monitoring. The Health app, which is new to Apple's mobile operating system, can now utilize the iPhone's own M7 motion tracking hardware for data sourcing. The app has been designed to take signals from third-party providers. It will also have the ability to selectively share data with a user's health and fitness software based on a user's preference.

The Health app will allow users to track steps and filter the data by day, week, month and year. The app's steps counter tab will be able to collect steps data without connecting to any third-party applications or hardware devices. Moreover, sharing steps data with external apps will also be possible. Since steps data are one of the most important fitness data, the ability for an iPhone to share that data would be extremely beneficial for fitness tracking. Furthermore, users will be able to monitor their caffeine intake and that data can be shared with external apps. This implies that third-party providers will be able to access the data in order to diagnose a user's health problems and send the data to healthcare professionals for possible remedies.

Apple is consistently expanding the range of applications that can be run on its mobile platform by allowing developers to write appropriate apps for specific diseases. We believe that Apple's healthcare endeavor will have far-reaching consequences on the healthcare community. For investors, Apple is perhaps one of the best healthcare plays for the long term. To learn more about Apple's venture into mHealth, read our original analysis.

Business relationship disclosure: The update has been written by a BB Research stock analyst. BB Research is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). BB Research has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Source: Update: Apple's New Health App Has Fitness Tracking And Caffeine Monitoring Features