Facebook Inc. is exploring the idea of letting users synchronize workout data from Oculus virtual-reality headsets with Apple Inc.’s Health app on iPhones, according to code discovered in the Oculus iPhone app. The feature would allow a user of the Oculus Move workout system to add data — like the number of calories burned — to the iPhone Health app. Code is hidden in the Oculus app also references the ability to view Oculus workout data on the Oculus VR headset that was previously saved to the Apple Health app. Facebook using Apple’s Health platform would represent the latest tie between the two tech giants, which have been partners and rivals over the years.
The code in the Oculus app doesn’t mean that a launch is guaranteed or imminent, but it does indicate that it is a feature being explored inside the social networking giant. A Facebook spokeswoman declined to comment. Since launching in 2014, the Apple Health app has been able to store fitness and workout data from several third-party devices, including smart scales, blood-pressure checkers, sleep monitors, and thermometers, as well as third-party workout apps. It’s also able to collect workout data from an Apple Watch or directly from an iPhone.
The code was discovered by iOS developer Steve Moser and shared with Bloomberg News. App code has revealed upcoming new features in the past. For instance, Bloomberg reported on code in Square Inc.’s app in May signaling plans for business checking and savings accounts. The new offerings were ultimately unveiled this month. Evidence of Netflix Inc.’s gaming plans also appeared in its app before the streaming platform announced its ambitions.
Facebook announced Oculus Move last year as a systemwide feature that can track calories burned and exercise activity during supported games. The functionality is still in its infancy, but Facebook executives have said that fitness will be a key component of virtual reality moving forward. Apple, meanwhile, is working on a mixed reality headset for as early as next year, and it’s looking to add health sensors to future AirPods earbuds.