Apple’s interest and focus on medical and health-based application of technology has been brewing for quite sometime with various reports pointing to Apple’s hiring and meetings with FDA officials. The cat seems to be out of the bag now with 9To5Mac‘s reporting.

The most juicy part of the report for folks waiting to hear about iWatch release date is that it could happen this year along with iOS 8. For those trying to dive a little deeper, here’s more info on what seems to indicate a chance of iWatch releasing in 2014.

iOS 8 and iWatch Features Are Geared Towards Health

There have been a lot of instances in the past where Apple has indicated that 2014 is going to be an exciting year for the company. Most of it has been very abstract with no clear indication of what the products would be. However, Tim Cook had mentioned about wearables and sensor-based technology being one of the areas Apple is looking into very seriously.

Sensor-based Health and Fitness Tracking

The first hint of this came in the M7 co-processor that Apple introduced in iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini 2nd-gen. The processor has the capability to track, in real-time, data like the number of steps you take, distance traveled and other fitness-related data.

Apple has been hiring people from health and medicine. It has also been working on –  according to rumors – sensors that work with hardware to monitor a lot of variables on the body (heart rate, blood pressure, hydration levels etc.).

iOS 8, ‘Healthbook’ App

According to the report from 9to5Mac, it looks like Apple’s iOS 8 – due to be released in 2014 – would feature a new app that rivals a current crop of amazing health-apps like those from Nike, Runkeeper etc. The ‘Healthbook’, as it’s called, would track user health / fitness data in real-time. Obviously, when you are detecting health data, you need sensors.

That’s where it looks like the iWatch would feature sensors that are geared towards health and fitness. Much more than anything, the iWatch (or the wearable tech Apple is working on) would be aimed at disrupting the health segment of technology. If you extrapolate that line of thought, it looks obvious that Apple wouldn’t be competing with Samsung’s Galaxy Gear. Instead, it would be creating a new segment out of a merger of existing ones.

iWatch / Wearable Gadget in 2014?

Nothing much of other iOS 8 features are out yet. In fact, the whole idea is to join two and two together to figure out iWatch features and guesstimate a launch timeframe. With these ideas in motion, it looks like iWatch might just appear by the end of 2014.

And judging by the depth of what Apple has been doing, it looks like whatever rumors we’ve heard about iWatch could all be wrong by a large amount.