Apple has struck its first partnership with a drug company, after it unveiled ResearchKit in March last year.
ResearchKit, a medical platform, turns the iPhone into a diagnostic tool for clinical trials and studies.
The UK's GlaxoSmithKline announced it would be using ResearchKit to conduct a medical study on rheumatoid arthritis. According to commentators, the news had significance for Apple, as it sought to form partnerships with medical companies and emerge as a legitimate player in the health industry.
GSK had used the framework of ResearchKit to create its own app for the iPhone. The three-month study would use the smartphone's sensors to track the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including joint pain, fatigue, and mood.
Participants would be asked questions about their health, and, according to a report from Bloomberg, would be asked to engage in "a guided wrist exercise that uses the phone's sensors to record motion."
No drugs would be tested, and GSK's goal was simply to look at "the impact a patient's disease has on their day-to-day life."
According to Rob DiCicco, GSK's head of clinical innovation and digital platforms, who spoke to Bloomberg, using ResearchKit would cut the costs of its clinical research. One of the benefits of using an app was that it was easier to gather data when patients did not have to travel to research centres.
GSK said, it would use the application for research in its study titled Patient Rheumatoid Arthritis Data from the Real World (PARADE), which aimed at recording the mobility of 300 participants over three months to track symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis - like joint pain, fatigue and mood - through data entered by patients.
Medicines were not being tested via the platform currently.
With ResearchKit, the drugmaker would be able to reduce millions of dollars in costs. It could also establish Apple as a major player in the sphere of health technology.