HealthKit already exists, and it doesn’t belong to Apple.
The HealthKit website and Twitter handle both belong to an Australian startup of the same name. It’s a global health platform connecting doctors and patients that’s ostensibly very similar to Apple’s planned iOS 8 platform. And, while based in Australia, it has users in a variety of English-speaking countries, including the U.S.
The company isn’t too pleased with Apple’s name choice for its own health-focused services.
“Feeling annoyed #Apple is using our #HealthKit name for their new health product! @tim_cook r u aware of this?” @HealthKit tweeted just after midnight Pacific on Monday. The company followed that by tweeting “Apple likes our #HealthKit name and so do we!” and a retweet from another account saying that this HealthKit has been around far longer than iOS 8.
“It is very flattering that they like our name, but I’m a little let down because how hard would it have been to spend five seconds to put HealthKit.com into their browser and find us?” Alison Hardacre, co-founder and managing director of HealthKit told Wired. “Everybody worries that Google or Apple will come into their space and their business will die, but no one thinks that company will come into that space and use the same name!”
HealthKit bought its corresponding domain name, which Hardacre says is “too important to let go,” in early 2012. Apple hasn’t been in touch with the the company yet.
Prior to its Monday debut, HealthKit was referred to as HealthBook. Prolific breaker of Apple news Mark Gurman believes Apple switched the name from HealthBook to HealthKit at the last minute, in response to his early leaks. This sort of evidence does suggest he could be right. The fact that the domain, Twitter handle, and IP for the name don’t belong to Apple is unusual for the company, which often trademarks a slew of possible names to cover its bases (for the California names of OS X, Apple trademarked everything from Big Sur and Redwood to Yosemite. Apple has also trademarked “iWatch” in a number of countries).
The ownership of the HomeKit name is less clear. While the current website is basically a collection of “fresh gift ideas,” the site is owned by a California-based company called Arch Holdings Inc. Apple will often buy websites and IP under the guise of another business name to avoid drawing attention to itself. The Twitter account of the same name is taken, but unused. HealthKit.com, by contrast, is owned by Lachlan Wheeler, the other cofounder of the Melbourne health company.
Hardacre says its website is seeing a huge surge of traffic since Apple’s announcement Monday, which, under other circumstances, would be a good thing. “It’s been so intensely hard to build this business,” Hardacre says. “We don’t want to be trampled on by a big company like Apple.”
We reached out to Apple for comment but did not receive a reply in time for publication.