How many miles did you walk today?
How long did you sleep?
What was your calorie intake and expenditure over the weekend?
These are questions that your iPhone can answer right now.
How many pages of a book have you read in the last week?
How much time have you spent meditating using one of the meditation apps on your iPad?
How much time have you spent on twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Reddit today?
Are your iMessages mostly positive or negative?
These are some of the questions that Apple’s iOS cannot answer right now.
As we spend more time than ever on our mobile devices and as we use them in new and innovative ways to do anything and everything, the need and benefits of being aware of every aspect of our association with them increases. Apple has done well by introducing HealthKit, a way to tie all fitness apps together in iOS 8, as a way for us to be more aware of what we’re doing throughout the day.
But HealthKit only addresses physical action (or inaction) and does not address very important components of our health – mental and spiritual growth. While it may seem more difficult to measure these, simple factors such as how much time we spend reading, playing games, chatting on social media or watching Netflix on our devices and how much time did we meditate, how our mood is (tracked using your heart beat or entered manually) and what kind of music we’ve been listening to, can point out some rather interesting facets of our personality and overall health. Also, games and services that allow us to improve our memory retention, mental acuity and ward off mental illness can add to the mix and allow users to truly track their mental health.
Quantified self encourages the need to answer some of these questions and reading has long been believed to have a bevy of mental and emotional health related benefits. These measurements should be included in the HealthKit that Apple releases next (perhaps iOS 10, when it comes out) so Apple can once again change the way we use their devices and how we can improve ourselves as human beings too.
Most companies out there love getting their hands on this information. Your Spotify listening habits, your online reading list and your mood swings are already quantified and collected by advertisers. At least if Apple does it, on our own devices, with your permission, you’ll be able to use that information for your own growth.
Apple’s current HealthKit focuses only on our bodies. Hopefully HealthKit 2.0 (or LifeKit as my brother Nipun called it) will help improve our minds and souls too.