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Apple's 'Health' app gets M7 coprocessor step tracking in iOS 8 beta 3, adds new data categories

With the release of iOS 8 beta 3 on Monday, Apple continued to build out its forthcoming Health app with new features, including support for the iPhone 5s' M7 coprocessor and additional data collection categories.




In its third iOS 8 beta build, Apple brings activity tracking onboard by tapping into the M7 motion coprocessor embedded in current generation devices like the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

The screenshot above was taken from an iPhone 5 running the latest iOS 8 beta, which does not allow on-phone step tracking since the M7 coprocessor began life with the iPhone 5s. Those with older iOS devices will have to count on HealthKit support from third-party fitness device makers or manually enter steps taken through the Health app's user interface.

The M7 coprocessor debuted last year as a way to more efficiently process data from device's onboard sensor suite. By offloading raw sensor data to the M7 instead of activating the power-hungry A7 SoC, the 5s is able to continuously gather information from the accelerometer, gyroscope and other components without severely impacting battery life.

In a separate addition, the Health app now includes caffeine measurements, which could one day tie into caffeine intake measurement apps like Jawbone's UP Coffee. Jawbone's app lets users log caffeine doses by selecting preset or customized drinks, then extrapolates the data to estimate how the stimulant will affect sleep patterns.

For now, Apple's Health app is all but devoid of content as developers and device makers prepare support for the health and fitness data repository through the HealthKit framework.