AI could be behind Apple’s next big health and fitness development 

An Apple AI a day, to keep the doctor away?

The buzz around AI (artificial intelligence) is showing little sign of abating, and, if rumours are to be believed, Apple is reportedly working on an AI-powered coaching service to complement its existing health and fitness offerings, such as the Apple Watch and Apple Fitness+ subscription service. 

AI is a growing area of interest in the health and fitness sectors, given the potential it has to provide bespoke advice to individuals, in a fraction of the time and far more cheaply than a human could do.  

Prolific Apple reporter Mark Gurman wrote on Bloomberg (via The Verge) that according to “people with knowledge of the project”, the service will use “AI and data from an Apple Watch to make suggestions and create coaching programs tailored to specific users”.  

A lady looking a health alert on her Apple WatchCredit: Apple

Codename Quartz

The project, codenamed Quartz, is not expected in 2023. It therefore would not be introduced alongside the Apple Watch 9, which is expected in September this year.  

However, there are rumours suggesting Apple is planning something big for the 2024 Watch Series 10.  

2024 also happens to be the tenth anniversary of the Apple Watch, which could see the Cupertino, California based firm line up some major announcement to mark the occasion.  

The details remain hazy at this point, so take this report with a pinch of salt, but Apple Watch users already record a wealth of health data as they go about their day. So it’s easy to see why Apple might try to leverage that data to create more tailored experiences for users.  


Why does AI matter?

Artificial Intelligence programs are developing rapidly, and their potential uses are likely to increase as they become ever more capable.

We can see the appeal of AI-generated content in the health and fitness space. As we mentioned before, AI may create bespoke content far faster than a human can – maybe within a few seconds.  

AI could suggest workout routines to follow on Apple Fitness+, or track user data to identify when it might be a good idea to have a rest day. Features like this could really help Apple deliver more content to their millions of customers worldwide.  

For users, the ability to have a training plan without the cost of a personal trainer could definitely appeal. It remains to be seen whether this would be a free service, or – more likely – if Apple would charge extra for it, likely as part of its Fitness+ subscription. 

An AI won’t have the qualifications or experience of a well-trained personal trainer. And a person can potentially provide emotional support in addition to the physical side of things. In this respect, AI is unlikely to offer the same experience. 

Whether it works or not, or if Apple launches it at all, we will have to wait and see. We’ll keep a close eye on this to see how things develop. We’ll potentially know more after the WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference) keynote on June 5. 

An image of a cardiogram heartbeat, with lots of figures standing beneath itCredit: Apple

Part of a suite of features

It looks as though this might not be the only innovation coming from Apple in terms of health and fitness. Up until now, the Health app has only been available on the iPhone and Apple Watch. But it may be given a dedicated iPad app when iPadOS 17 comes out.  

This is expected to be announced at the WWDC keynote, before the final version is released, likely in September. 

Beyond this, Apple is also rumoured to be working on a journaling app (codenamed Jurassic) which is primarily focused on users’ mental health.

Bloomberg also report that Apple is working on an emotion tracker, and other features designed to help users with nearsightedness. 

More to come?

In a recent Q2 earnings call on May 4 2023, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about his views on generative AI and its use in Apple’s products and services (at around the 31:45 mark).

While he was understandably cagey on any specific uses, he did explain that it’s “very important to be deliberate and thoughtful in how you approach these things…but the potential is certainly very interesting”.  

He pointed out that AI is already used in features such as crash and fall detection in the Apple Watch. He added: “it’s absolutely remarkable, and we view AI as huge, and will continue to weave it in our products on a very thoughtful basis”.   

Clearly, Apple sees great potential in AI. But these comments suggest they are taking a cautious approach when it comes to integrating it into their products. It suggests that if these health-related rumours are correct, they are part of a much larger project to utilise AI. 

Steven Shaw

Written by Steven Shaw he/him


Steven Shaw has been a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, most notably TechRadar. His degree in Medieval History prepared him less adequately for his career than you might expect, but the years spent working in technology focused retail were much more helpful.

Outside of work, Steven is passionate about health and fitness, and particularly enjoys high-intensity interval training, weight training, and increasingly, spending time recovering. Steven loves reading, films and a wide variety of sports. A particular highlight was watching Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar batting together in an exhibition match.

He wishes he could travel more. He can also tell you a lot about the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Carolingians. Most of his non-work time is spent with his young children, who are the living embodiment of high-intensity training.