As much as I love the Apple Health app, I can't access its data on my iPad Air: the data from my iPhone and my Apple Watch Series 7 has nowhere to go on any of Apple's iPads. But that may be about to change. A newly discovered patent (opens in new tab) shows a redesigned Apple Health app with an important role for the Apple Pencil. No, not as a thermometer.
The patent, which has been unearthed by Patently Apple (opens in new tab), shows an iPad-specific Health app with a new "scratchpad" designed specifically for the Apple Pencil.
The mock-ups look to me like they're designed for healthcare workers to use: the presence of name and date of birth fields at the top of the supplied images alongside links for different categories – wellness, tabs and conditions – looks rather like traditional paper-based medical documents that you hang on the base of a hospital bed.
But as the Apple Pencil can be used for input as well as in the Scratchpad, there's no reason why it can't be used by the rest of us as an input device for health data that isn't supplied automatically by iPhone or Apple Watch.
Even better would be if the Scratchpad became a common thing in iPad apps – a way to combine taking notes with text input makes a lot of sense. It'd be great in recipe apps, in journalling apps, in budgeting apps… anything that deals with a lot of information.
The rest of Apple's patent is all about sleep: sleep data, "awakening events", sleep sessions and more. That suggests that it's sleep tracking that's really keeping Apple's engineers awake at night, with more detailed sleep tracking coming to future iPhones and Apple Watches. As ever with patents, there's no guarantees that anything detailed in the patent will become an actual product, but it's an interesting insight into Apple's current thinking.