Apple's getting into the business of mobile health tracking. The company will soon let you track sexual activity in HealthKit's new update. Despite the sexy implications, unlike Quartz's claim here, HealthKit's new expansion does not mean Apple is monitoring "how often" you personally have sex. And unlike this claim on Forbes.com, it does not mean Apple "fixed" something that was broken.
Let's talk about sex on HealthKit, and why its new menstrual cycle tracking is less interesting than some may have you think.
Think Microsoft Word, but for your sex life
TL;DR — You have always been able to track how much sex you have by literally just writing it down anywhere, and Apple always had access to that information if you gave it that access, through Apple's own apps or third-party apps.
- Apple could have always tracked how often you had sex, if you put that information in your iPhone. Apple has always supported third-party apps that help women keep track of their menstrual cycle, such as the popular Clue app, which has been downloaded more than 1 million times on iPhones. Clue — and arguably any app that allows custom writing, like Notes — lets you add in information about your sex life. Does this mean Apple is going to "track how often you have sex"? Not exactly. That data belongs to Clue, to you, and to any other app developers you choose to share that data with.
- Apple never had a "problem" to fix in the first place, as many writers have incorrectly suggested. The company has literally no obligation of any possibly sort to offer an equal amount of options in its own default apps that reflect the distribution of demographic differences among App Store purchases. The implication that Apple should provide all things for everyone just feeds into, frankly, the wanted but inaccurate assumption that Apple should be like its historic archenemy, Microsoft (see third point).
- Apple wants to hook us on auto-installed apps it owns in the same way Microsoft famously created default writing (Word) and accounting (Excel) programs. It's a way to create an experience with Apple products that can't be duplicated on Android or Windows. Think about the very important matter of open versus closed operating systems the next time you expect Apple will offer you something it builds, and not from a third-party developer.