Kyle Seth Gray

Kyle Seth Gray's blog. Usually writing about tech, personal experience, but now leaning more towards health and fitness.

Dear Apple

Dear Apple,

There is more I can say as to how the Apple Watch has helped me.

Shortly after getting the Apple Watch, I actually went through one of the toughest and darkest parts of my life.

I felt alone, afraid, and constantly weary of my future, and if I should even have a future. If I should carry on.

In a stupid way, my obsession with technology and my love for watches did catapult me towards caring about the Activity rings, and by proxy, exercise and daily activity. I no longer stayed in bed doing nothing - I seized the day, got out early, and found passion in exercise that really lifted me up from where I was.

Thank you to all my awesome friends, Brianna for getting me into running, my Spin instructors for putting up with me, and my friends in person and online to encourage me to bike. And all my followers that put up with all of my cycling posts.

And now, here I am. Alive.

Click here for more of my posts on the Apple Watch.

Summer days

Choices Made

As a quick brief followup to this post, after a few weeks of cycling and testing different apps, I've found my solution to keeping all of my data but also getting the most out of all of it.

To maintain my Activity Rings, I use the Wahoo ELEMNT App, which syncs from my bike computer. After many many tests, it gets the calories closest to what the Apple Watch did when I was using it daily for cycling. It also pairs directly with my HR monitor.

Then, to get the HR data from my Wahoo TICKR, I have it paired to my Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT, and my iPhone. Because its "dual band", it can pair to a device that uses ANT+ and Bluetooth. So, it pairs to the computer with ANT+, and then to my iPhone directly (which I always have when I'm cycling) over Bluetooth.

Wahoo writes each workout to HealthKit and writes it to Strava. I'm hoping Wahoo also implements the new Workout Route Mapping API that's coming in iOS 11, because I believe that'll also show the actual map in Activity.app.

So there you have it. A quick little run down on how I still maintain my 400+ move streak, get my data into Strava for segments, workouts, and seeing how I'm improving, and how I still get HR data, cycling distance, and active calories all into the health database on my iPhone.

Choices choices choices…

I got a fancy new bike computer yesterday - I want to get more serious about biking, and with the bike computer, I can use Strava to help me with that.

I tested it this morning with Wahoo's app, Strava, and Activity.app. I wanted to see the type of data I got from each, and how they played out overall.

Wahoo Strava Activity.app

For this ride, I had my HR monitor paired simultaneously to my Apple Watch and my bike computer, and my bike computer fed the GPS data to Wahoo which then fed to Strava. Activity obviously has the most data, because it's the built in solution offered by Apple. I don't know if the new HKWorkoutRouteType in iOS 11 would allow apps like Strava or Wahoo to write a map here in Activity, (retroactively would be even better) but it certainly would make third party apps feel more native.

Wahoo's calories seems... a little high. I was impressed that Strava and Activity were within a few calories of each other, and super glad that they were, since I've had issues with them being similar in the past. But I have no idea how Wahoo shot so high when all 3 sources have the exact same speed, and HR data.

Overall, it's interesting to see three different apps use the same data and take it differently. I think in the future, I'm going to have to use Strava's data whenever I'm biking, since it provides a social experience, still updates my Apple Watch rings, and allows third party apps like Gyroscope to pull out map data.

EDIT: Well, for some reason, neither Strava or Wahoo write HR data to Healthkit. Strava doesn't write HR data at all, and Wahoo seems to sporadically log samples...


This also allows me to bike without having to worry about my Apple Watch battery... which at the moment is pretty crap.

365

A year ago I attended WWDC 2016

During that week, I met awesome people, and learned about new features coming in watchOS 3: Namely, activity sharing on the Apple Watch. It was a feature I used heavily on other fitness platforms: keeping up with friends who also had the same fitness device, and competing with them on achievements, exercises, and even just plains steps.

I was just over the year mark on owning my Apple Watch, and while I did fill my rings semi regularly, I wasn't too serious on completing everything.

(I could go over my fun injury again or my addiction to running but lucky for you! I've already written those posts.)

I started to get serious about it, and just basically wanted to beat my previous move goal streak of about 90+ days.

So I did.

By the time the 90 day mark rolled around, I just kept going.

And going.

And here I am now, and I've hit 365 days on my Apple Watch.

365 days of hitting my move goal. Early morning workouts before sitting in a car or bus for hours, a 21 mile bike ride before a plane ride, getting out and doing jumping jacks in the middle of a long car ride. So many better and new habits formed by just closing those darn rings.

The strange motivation I get from gamifying my fitness is obviously just one part of it. I built healthier habits by getting up early, eating right, and making the gym/biking a regular occurence. One of my favorite things was going to a spin class every morning before school and work at the begining of this year.

Overall, as I've said before, I'm amazed at what I've accomplished with my personal health. This post is just an high level summary, and I'll attempt to go into more detail as time goes on and on, but it comes down to a simple thing:

I was a scrawny, sports hating kid who never really liked being active. I thought of gym as a chore, and even found ways to get around it in high school (I took my 'gym' requirement online. Yes. That is a thing).

Now I get up at 5:00 AM every day, and either go to a gym, cycle, or if I have a different schedule, find a way to workout. I've worked out in crappy hotel gyms in Mexico, walked a couple of miles when I had no equipment, and even just ran up and down stairs a few times. If you find the right motivation, you can do things you never thought you'd enjoy. Because I definitely have.

The New Lock Screen

With iOS 11, the lock screen has been a hot topic for debate. It differs from what we are all used to, and in some ways breaks a lot of our previously thought of ways in how iOS works.

Two years ago, with iOS 9, one of the biggest issues with the lock screen was Touch ID. Touch ID on the 6s was fast enough that it really made blowing past your notifications super easy.

Last year Apple solved that by changing the whole lock screen metaphor. In iOS 10, swipe to unlock was replaced by pressing the home button to unlock the screen. This made it so you could rest your home button on Touch ID, unlock the device, and then interact with your phone without clearing all of those notifications.

Now, with iOS 11, to help present more unity between the lock screen and its relation to your notifications, they've made the lock screen and Notification Center one and the same. Now, this has been confusing for a lot of people, especially since there were even some bugs at one point that locked the device when swiping down.

Bear with me, but this, to me, makes a lot of sense.

Take a look (with permission) at any close friend or family member's iOS device. Chances are:

  1. If you show them Notification Center they have no idea what it is

  2. Their Notification Center has notifications for dayyyyyyyyz

  3. They are used to using their lock screen to access notifications. That's where their texts/emails/facebook/game spam goes.

I can't tell you how many times most users don't even know about notification center. Swiping down from the top is completely foreign to them. But locking the device isn't. [Except for my parents, who notoriously put their devices in their pockets with the screen on (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻]

If you asked any of them, or you know, did a survey/study group with people who use iOS devices, and asked them what would make sense to get to their notifications, it would be navigating to where they saw them in the first place: their lock screen.

For us "nerds" who actually use Notification Center hundreds of times a day? Yes, this new change is strange, and I still think that swiping to quickly dismiss a notification should at least be an option. But having one single pane ("The Cover Sheet") where we see all of our notifications, and can get an overview of what has pinged us/what's happened over the course of the day makes sense. I bet with this new change, more of us won't see the need to clear all of our notifications either. Mainly because the new notification center focuses on showing us recent notifications, and then we can scroll to see all of them. And then, if we really want to, we can dismiss all of them at once.

Federico Viticci on the latest episode of Connected at 24:00 made the most sense to me when it comes to this new lock screen. His theory is:

...Apple took at a bunch of analytics, realized people don't open Notification Center at all, and people don't open widgets at all…so they looked at stats for the lock screen, realized 'well people interact with notifications on the lock screen a lot so why not just make it like a lock screen?'


Overall, this is just my personal idea of how Apple went about making this change, and the possible reasoning behind it. It may not be 100% better or even close to being right, but to me this makes sense.

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