Apple is said to be moving toward providing comprehensive health and fitness tracking features in the next iteration of its mobile operating system, dubbed “iOS 8.”

As reported by 9to5Mac, iOS 8 is most likely linked to the development of the long-rumored “iWatch” wearable device:

Apple currently plans to release a new version of the iPhone operating system this year with health and fitness tracking integration as its headline feature, according to sources briefed on the plans. Apple’s work on such an operating system likely indicates that Apple is nearing the introduction of its long-awaited, sensor-laden “iWatch,” which sources say is well into development…

There are substantial precedents for Apple’s focus on health and fitness in iOS 8. With its M7 motion coprocessor, it has paved the way for a new generation of activity-tracking apps, including Nike+ Move, Fitbit, and Moves (pictured above). The company has also made several notable hires from the health and fitness industry.

Moreover, as noted by The New York Times in a separate new report, some of Apple’s top executives have met with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss mobile medical apps.

And now, according to 9to5Mac, Apple is planning to debut a new software called “Healthbook” in iOS 8, which is codenamed “Okemo” after the popular Vermont ski resort. Healthbook is said to be patterned after Apple’s existing card storage app Passbook, but it’s designed to store and monitor health statistics and vital signs such as number of steps taken, weight loss, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Apparently, Apple is set to effect a significant shift in another key field.

Are you looking forward to using Healthbook in iOS 8 along with the fitness-focused iWatch?