There's a healthcare piece to new iPhone

Think about tracking activity
By Eric Wicklund
11:05 AM

Lost in all the ho-hum reviews of the new iPhone 5S this week is an addition that could boost its value as an mHealth device.

The new version of the iPhone includes a M7 "motion coprocessor," a second processor that gathers data from the phone's sensors. Drawing data from the compass, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer, the phone works with a new 64-bit A7 CPU to track a user's movements and activity, determining when a user is walking, running, stationary or driving, even when the phone's not in use.

[See also: New iPhone 5 maps failing healthcare seekers.]

This new processor will also enable developers to build iPhone apps that won't have to rely on sensors embedded in wristbands or other accessories.

The first such app was unveiled this week during the iPhone 5S launch by Apple's Phil Schiller. Nike+ Move, to be made available "soon" on the Apple App Store, will gather data much in the same way that the FitBit or Nike Fuel wristband does, and feed that data into Apple's Games Center.

Will this make the new iPhone 5S a "game-changer," to borrow an overused phrase?

[See also: Slideshow: A brief history of the iPhone.]