Apple, who is notorious for keeping their products and development under wraps, have give us a sneak peek into their secret fitness lab. The purpose of the lab is to get data to be able to create better products. The predominant focus of the Apple Watch is health and fitness. This is the big drive for most people, so it’s important for Apple to improve the watch. There are some drawbacks I’ve noticed myself, but I’m not going to get into that today.
To date, Apple has logged more than 33,000 hours of biometric data using employees as “volunteers”. I think the term is “volun-told”. I mean, I can see people coming forward wanting to help with this information, but to call them volunteers is a stretch in my opinion. Especially since they’re actual employees. They may be volunteering for the program, but I suspect there is more to it. Maybe Apple is as cool of a place to work for as it seems, but I would bet that there are some incentives to participate. But I digress a bit. This amount of data is actually estimated to be the largest chunk of fitness data in the world. How they’re measuring that I’m not exactly sure, but it is kind of neat.
Jay Blahnik, Apple’s Director of Fitness has indicated “that the facility employs 13 physicians and exercise specialists, in addition to 29 nurses and medics. It’s also the largest purchaser of 50 metabolic carts, which are used to track the oxygen consumption of Apple engineers, managers, and even security guards as they perform various kinds physical activities– including cycling, swimming in the lab’s endless pool, rowing, running, and yoga.… Read the rest
Apple Watch Updates Include Improved Siri and Fitness Capabilities
For those of you who have an Apple Watch, you will be happy to hear about the updates announced during yesterday’s WWDC keynote speech. Why? Because they’re amazing. Maybe I’m gushing a bit too much about WWDC, but with so many cool things happening, how could I not? I love my Apple Watch. It provides me with a lot of information. And as someone who forgets (a lot), I think the updates are really going to help me. In addition, they are vastly improving the fitness capabilities. Which is also a big plus for me anyway. Let’s start with the fitness capabilities first:
Greater ability to sync with exercise equipment
I find that the information on my watch isn’t always the same as the information on the treadmill (or rowing machine). So which device is accurate? My guess is the watch, but the treadmill is likely being honest also. So instead of having to make a choice, Apple has partnered with some of the major fitness equipment manufacturers to integrate your fitness information. Meaning, you can now sync your calories, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline and pace with your Apple Watch. Apple plans on rolling this out int he fall, and it’s estimated that 85% of gyms in America are using the equipment that will have this technology.
Increased Bluetooth capabilities
You will now be able to connect your Apple watch to other devices such as glucose monitors. Which is an amazing step in the right direction to help people with their health goals.… Read the rest
With Apple Watch Sales Way Up In Q1 Does Fitbit Need to rethink its upcoming Smartwatch?
Apple surpassed Fitbit as the world’s largest wearable vendor with an estimated 3.5 million shipments of its Apple Watch. And that’s just for the first quarter. Fitbit only shipped 2.9 million of it’s fitness trackers. This number is up from the same quarter last year. With Apple only having sold 2.2 million during that time, last year. Which is incredible, right? And what is causing this boom? Who is using them? And why aren’t people buying Fitbits any more? My guess is that it’s because you can’t do the same things on your Fitbit. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does raise a few questions. At least for me.
2.9 million is certainly nothing to laugh at. That is a lot of units. And yes, the more advanced models of Fitbit can track more than just your steps. But is that enough for people? It does only allow you to track fitness, regardless of how you slice it. And maybe that’s not enough for some people. I myself made the switch late last year. I was hesitant to switch at first. What could I possibly do with an Apple Watch? I have grown to love it, but I assumed it was just an expensive fitness tracker. So why spend that much money on one?
But when it came down to it, the Apple Watch and the upper model Fitbit’s were in the same price range. So is that what is helping Apple with it’s sales? … Read the rest
“Mispelled” – A New and Ironic Game for Your Apple Watch
I’m always looking for ways to entertain myself. More specifically, when I don’t have any other option. Like, if I’m waiting at the dentist or for a doctor’s appointment. Sure, I could read one of the germ infested magazines. I can browse Twitter or Instagram (which is what I usually do), but sometimes I just get bored of that. And I’ve been looking for some kind game that I doesn’t require a lot of time or skill. Something that I can open once a week, or less often and be able to pick up where I left of. So I was pretty excited when I saw the game “Mispelled”. What is even more cool about the game is that it’s available exclusively on your Apple Watch.
Yes, you download the app to your phone, but you can’t play it on your phone. You have to play it on your watch. I wrote a piece last week around the idea of smart watch etiquette. And whether or not it’s rude to check your watch when you receive a notification. Smart watch games elevate this idea, because you’re not necessarily checking that your friend has messaged you, but rather you’re playing a game. Fortunately, this game doesn’t require constant action, but it does require you to answer a puzzle in a short amount of time.
I love the concept of this game. Which is to figure out what the word is that is misspelled. … Read the rest
Is It Rude to Check the Notifications on Your Smartwatch?
I am a relatively new Apple Watch user. But I find that when I check my watch for a notification, I appear to be giving off a rude vibe to those with me. That, however is not my intention. Maybe I need to be a bit more cognizant of how I’m using it and when. For example, instead of checking it as soon as it buzzes on my wrist I could wait for a pause in the conversation. That being said, are people without smart watches being too sensitive?
Before having a smart watch, I would see people checking theirs all the time and it honestly never phased me. But I’m finding is that people see it as a rude gesture. Like I’m checking the time because I want to leave the conversation. Which leads me to wonder if people are too sensitive, or if I am being rude. In defense of smart watch users everywhere, just because you’re checking the notification doesn’t mean you need to leave. Or have somewhere else to be. My watch buzzes to tell me of an upcoming event in my calendar. I am horrible at remembering things, so without this, I might miss appointments. That 10 or 15 minute warning on my wrist could make a world of difference. So what’s the big deal?
In an age where we are constantly connected to our devices, this is just another way of doing it. And a more subtle one I would argue. … Read the rest
Listen to podcasts offline on your Apple Watch thanks to Overcast
I love my Apple Watch. It is the best smartwatch on the market because it does what is advertised to do. Sort of. It is not a workout watch. That would be the FitBit Blaze. The main issue that I am sure we all have is that it does not really ever let you use it without your iPhone near you. Even with the new update to the OS it is still not a standalone device. There are a few apps that show us what may be possible in the future. The built in Music app lets you sync playlist for offline use. Which is great but sometimes you want to listen to a podcast while you workout or go for run.
Up to until now the only way to listen to podcast on your Apple Watch without a iPhone present was with a jailbreak tweak called WatchPlayer. That is no longer the case. Now with the latest Overcast update you can send podcasts to your Apple Watch with just a tap of a button after you’ve downloaded episodes to your iPhone. It works pretty well although keep in mind its not the fastest transfer ever. It may take a few minutes for the episode to make it to your watch depending on the size of the podcast. Also keep in mind that your play episodes doesn’t sync back to your iPhone. That means you can’t pick up where you left off from on other devices.… Read the rest
Starting June Apple Watch apps Must Work Without an iPhone
In the about time file. Starting this June 1st non-native apps won’t be approved for the App Store. That means that every single Apple Watch app must work without the need for an iPhone. Apple should have mandated this right from day one. However better late than never. So here is the deal. Specifically, Apple says anything submitted to the App Store approval starting June 1st has to be a native app running watchOS 2. One can only hope this act will result in much better quality applications than the half-baked apps we have gotten so far for the Apple Watch.