Kyle Seth Gray

My blog on anything I find relevant, but leaning more and more towards health and fitness.

Two Years With Apple Watch

A year ago, I wrote this:

I thought that with me owning my Apple Watch for 1 year now, I would add up some totals regarding how much I've done.

I thought I would follow the same format as that post, and provide more stats:

  • Since I got my Apple Watch, I've walked 9,608,040 steps.
  • I've walked/ran a distance of 4526 Miles.
  • I cycled 1998 miles
  • I burned a total of 438,746 Active Calories. (That's 662 glazed Dunkin Donuts)
  • Ruined 8 pairs of headphones, including two EarPods and two pairs of Jaybirds.
  • Took out 2 iPhone 6's, I'm on my 3rd right now. First one got dropped on a mountain, second one got ruined by sweat.
  • Still rocking the same Apple Watch I got on day 1.

    Day one with my Apple Watch Day 366 with my Apple Watch Day 730 with my Apple Watch

Last year I told myself I wanted to "up the ante" with my cycling efforts.

Last summer, after realizing I still couldn't run as much as I used to, I went out and bought a bike. It isn't a top of the line road bike: it's categorized by Sirrus as a Fitness bike. However, it got me addicted. I used it to commute all of fall semester - 14 miles round trip every day. And on weekends I would check out all the awesome trails around Utah, as well as cycle throughout Utah Valley. I've biked all the way from Provo to Salt Lake a few times, (~55 miles), and as summer is on the horizon, I'm biking every single day if possible.

The biggest thing about the Apple Watch is the encouragement it provides me to be physically active. There's a plethora of different achievements you can get, including event-based awards. You get awards for hitting your Move goal every day of the week, month, and for continuing a streak. The visualization of all your data, and being able to look back and compare previous workouts, really helps a lot in short term and long term motivation.

As it stands today, as soon as I got to the gym after work, I'll have hit a 300 day move goal streak.

The Apple Watch as a motivational device has been priceless to me. Two years ago, I wasn't out of shape by any means, but I definitely wasn't physically able to accomplish what I can now. I remember when I first got my Watch, I would run a bit here and there, but getting to a higher goal of ~800 active calories was hard, and wore my body out. Now, my move goal is 840, and I'm hitting it every. single. day.

Obviously it takes more than a shiny computer to make a change in your life, but I can definitely say that the Apple Watch has changed mine. I often wonder what 2-year-ago Kyle would think if I saw what I was doing these days: cycling 20 miles per day on the weekend, spending about an hour at the gym every morning or evening, and consistently and steadily hitting my goals.

I'm really glad I got the Apple Watch, and I love the Activity Ring based motivation system. It really works for the way I think, and It's encouraged me to keep moving, stay active, and live a more 'fit' life.

Complaints about Complaints: The Watch

It’s been two weeks since I got my Apple Watch, and although I don’t think I’ll be writing a review of it anytime soon, I felt like I should post some thoughts I have about the device.

The Apple Watch has been a great and fun device. It changes a lot of things, helps you manage notifications just a bit better, and the fitness tracking aspect of it is great. When I had my Fitbit, there were some of the same “goals” with the device: Move a certain amount every day, and make sure some of that amount is exercise. With the Fitbit, however, it seemed any consecutive activity over a few minutes was counted as exercise, whether it be walking for ten minutes, or actually running for twenty, either of these counted toward the “globally recommended 30 minutes per day”. To me, it just seemed too easy, and although it did encourage me to be more active over the two years I had the Fitbit, it seemed like I was able to make that goal every day.

Enter Apple Watch and an actual heart rate monitor. The Apple Watch does the usual ‘count your steps’, like every other fitness device, but it does it differently. It doesn’t focus on the 10,000 steps as a goal for you to obtain, rather, it focuses on your active calories, and your minutes spent actually exercising. These encourages me a lot more than the simplicity of gaining a certain amount of steps in a day. The best part is how the exercise ring actually challenges you. I think it calculates your VO2max from the personal data you enter, and uses that to estimate what your heart rate should be for exercise to actually count. Personally, I love this feature; it pushes me more than my Fitbit ever did.

This is where I’ve seen a bunch of complaints. A lot of people seem to think that anything like walking, jumping up and down, or putting a lower effort in should be exercise, or that the Apple Watch is inaccurate because it doesn’t count a long walk as exercise. These complaints, to me, seem unwarranted. I bought the Apple Watch so I could be more active, not drag along and think that the regular things I did every day would help count towards the exercise goal.

And yes, in this next little bit I’m going to complain about some other complaints people have had about the Apple Watch. Sure, I’m an “Apple Fan”, an apologist, and have no opinion. Cool.

But some of the complaints I’ve seen along twitter have just been ridiculous. I’ve seen people complain about the Stand function bugging them, when, it only bugs you if you haven’t stood, and you can easily prevent that, or turn it off. I’ve seen people complain that the Watch didn’t “automatically” track their run or bike ride, when it never said anywhere that it does so automatically. People complain about the straps, the small screen, or how there’s certain features that don’t seem to benefit them therefore shouldn’t exist at all. Or how the Apple Watch use/UI paradigm should be changed completely to fit their needs.

And the biggest thing I’ve seen is people complain how much the Watch isn’t like their phone. How buttons may be different, or the home screen isn’t a home screen, or the fact that the Human Interface Guidelines for a device that goes on your wrist aren’t similar to the Human Interface Guidelines to the pocket computer that has a ginormous screen.

It’s a different device. It’s a new platform. It’s not an iPhone on your wrist, it’s meant to be something different.

I am ok with the fact that it’s a different device. I knew when I bought it that it would take some getting used to. And I’m okay with that. It’s just such a weird thing to see people, and most of these people fans of technology like me, refuse to try and learn about a new platform, or think that it needs to change for them. (Spoiler: it probably won’t. I’m sure many people complained about the iPhone home screen layout, yet here we are.) Apple never forced you to buy this device, and if you won’t learn how to use it, or RTFM, Apple won’t care.

In conclusion, I get that it’s a new device, and Apple is some super amazing company that never does anything “Un-Apple Like” (Which they do, like all the time. Who even defined what is Apple-like and what isn’t anyway?) Things change, and just like the iPhone wasn’t similar to the Macintosh when it came to many of its features, the Watch is meant to be different than the iPhone, simply because it is a new, and completely different device. But just because a device doesn’t function how you want it to doesn’t mean the device is a failure, or that it’s “extremely difficult” or Un-Apple. It may just be the user.