According to re/code which broke the story based on information from unspecified sources,
It’s unclear exactly why Apple will no longer sell the devices, which track steps and other health metrics, in its retail stores. But the move comes a week after Fitbit issued a statement saying it was still “evaluating integration with HealthKit,” Apple’s new software application that acts as a central repository for health and fitness data on iPhones.
There’s also been some suggestion that the decision may simply be intended to pull potential Apple Watch competitors from the shelves, though there’s no suggestion that other similar devices are facing similar fates.
As a clinician, my first reaction was “who cares.” It really doesn’t matter to me who sells what device; what I care about is having a market of clinically evaluated, validated devices. The relevant insight here may be into how that market will evolve going forward. If Apple in fact pulled FitBit from its shelves due to lack of HealthKit support, that suggests the lengths to which they will go to compel device makers to integrate.
Given the way Apple has historically managed the ecosystem around its devices, thats not terribly surprising. In the market of personal health devices, this moves suggests that interoperability through HealthKit and Health is something Apple would try to “enforce” rather than “promote.” Similarly, through its developer agreements specifying that data collected from HealthKit can not be used to for advertising purpose and the requirement for users to provide permissions for sharing each type of data, Apple is putting the consumer at the center of this ecosystem with strict controls on how data is used and shared.
These core values being embedded in the iOS digital health ecosystem by Apple are certainly ones that clinicians and patients will appreciate and be important strengths driving clinical adoption going forward.