Kyle Seth Gray

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

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HealthFit - The Missing Apple Watch Sync

The Apple Watch's main flaw when it comes to workouts is that most third party apps suck. The built in workout app is the only app I've used that's rock solid, and gets you all the awards within Activity.app. It's where I track every run, ride, swim, walk, and hike.

But I still enjoy being social with my data, despite it being super personal and "private". I use Strava to track things like segments, improvements, and training for cycling and running, and enjoy having all my stats in one online place.

That's where HealthFit comes in. HealthFit is simply the best app for getting your workouts and health data out of the Health app, and into apps that are great for social features, but have terrible HealthKit implementations. [This thread has been going on for four years. I still get notifications about it.]

HealthFit is simply the best solution that I wish Apple would build into its app. It takes any workout, and [now even automatically], lets you sync it to third party service.1 HealthKit as an API is great to have, but when even the biggest players like Strava won't integrate with it correctly, or even allow you to import data from it, then you should write the feature yourself.


I also just came across Tempo which, in a similar vein to HealthFit, focuses exclusively on runs done with Workout.app, and allows a bunch of data points to be viewed from it. In my 5 minutes of using it, I've really enjoyed its visualizations so far.

  1. Garmin Connect, Strava, TrainingPeaks, Final Surge, Selfloop, Smashrun, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, MapMyRun, MapMyBike, Ride with GPS, Cycling Analytics, Today's Plan, Runalyze are among the apps listed that HealthFit will throw your workouts to. You can even export it as a FIT file.

A list of Apple Watch Special Achievements

Turkey Trot 2016

TURKEY_TROT

This was the first Apple Watch badge - it was awarded on Thanksgiving Day, in the US, in 2016 for completing a running, walking, or wheelchair workout of at least 5 kilometers/3.11 miles. .

New Years 2017

Ring in the New Year

This badge was awarded for completing all three rings for an entire week within the first month of 2017. This was the first badge available worldwide, and included a lot more stickers.

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day Badge

This badge was earned by doing an outdoor workout of at least 30 minutes or more on Earth Day. While it was somewhat strict in which workouts counted, the 2018 badge eliminated any need for a specific workout, as long as it was 30 minutes or more.

This was the 3rd yearly badge.

Mothers Day 2017

Mothers Day Badge

In a continuation of Every Mother Counts Partnership [kinda?], this was a badge awarded for walking a mile more in celebration of motherhood. This was only available in the US.

National Parks

Yosemite

Inspired by the hike from Old Faithful to Mallard Lake in Yellowstone, this badge was awarded for a walk, run, or wheelchair workout of 3.5 miles on July 15th. It was also the first big PR push for one of the badges, and was put out alongside a Press Release highlighting Apple's donations to The National Park Foundation. Despite being a celebration of the US National Parks, it was available worldwide.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day USA USA

In celebration of Veterans Day, this badge was awarded for doing a workout of 11 minutes or more. In the US only.

Turkey Trot 2 Electric Boogaloo

TURKEY_TROT_2017

A repeat of the original badge, this was the second Turkey Trot award for doing a 5k (or 4.98897 kilometers to account for someone with miles to not do the last .01 miles and end up being really sad.) on Thanksgiving. This badge was still US only however.

New Years 2018

2018!

Another yearly badge has become the New Years challenge, challenging Apple Watch Users to complete all 3 rings for 7 days during the month of January. This one did have some SQL issues though ;)

Heart Month 2018

beating heart

This was a fun, new unique badge that coincided with Heart Month - a month dedicated to a health heart, heart disease awareness and research, and more in America. This was available worldwide, and encouraged Apple Watch users to meet their exercise goal 7 days in a row starting on February 7th and ending on the 14th, 2018.

This also started the trend of the badges having fun animations.

International Women's Day

double the work

A new badge celebrating international women's day encouraged Apple Watch users to double their move goal on March 8th, 2018.

This was available worldwide.

Earth Day 2018

Earth 2

A repeat of the 2017 badge, this encouraged Apple Watch users to get outside and do a workout of 30 minutes or more to earn an achievement. Unlike the previous badge, however, this badge would be earned for any workout totaling 30 minutes.

This was available worldwide.

China Fitness Day

Red 2018 badge

One of the first internationally specific badges that wasn't US only, this badge was earned on August 8th, 2018 by doing a workout of 30 minutes or more to Apple Watch users in China.

National Parks 2018

Redwoods

Surprisingly not a repeat of the previous years, this National Parks badge happens on the 50 year anniversary of Redwood National Park in California, and also featured a donation campaign by Apple. This badge is achievable on September 1st, by doing a run, walk, or wheelchair workout of 50 minutes or more.

Veterans Day 2018

Veterans Day round 2 USA USA

An exact repeat of the previous years Veterans Day badge, including the model, method of earning, and limitation to the US. Sadly, unlike others, this one isn't an animated badge.
You earn this special award by working out for 11 minutes or more on Veterans Day, November 11th, 2018.

Turkey Trot 2018

2018-2018

Unfortunately, the third annual turkey trot badge was destroyed because of a deployment issue. Because of an improperly configured Amazon bucket, badges weren't being properly propagated to devices [As far as I'm able to observe externally. Who knows what is internally causing this. All I know is I saw the asset for TURKEY_TROT_2018, but I was unable to download it]. This issue was prevalent in an in-between period of the Veterans Day badge and the Turkey trot badge.

Asset catalog 105 was deployed, but wasn't downloading properly to devices which caused users to not achieve the Veterans Day badge. In order to fix this, the asset catalog was rolled back to 104, which didn't have the Turkey_Trot_2018 badge in it.

For some reason this was unable to be fixed before thanksgiving, and it came and went without the badge being deployed in time to notify users, and as it stands today [12/9/2018], the Achievements Asset Catalog is still at version 104 which does not include the Turkey Trot badge.

I'm sad that a badge was somehow not deployed simply because of a server misconfiguration. I really hope this badge comes back in 2019. And I hope Apple figures out a way to not have badges reply on buggy deploys.

365x2

730 days.

365x2 badge 365 days seemed like a lot way back when I got my Apple Watch. I remember seeing the original 365 badge and thinking it was crazy, and now I’ve technically earned it 3 times.

I’m forever grateful for technology like this that helps motivate me to do more. It’s motivated me to try different workouts, where now I'm swimming, strength training, and attempting a triathlon very soon.

I know there's things I can say here that sound similar to what I've written before, talking about my past with exercising, how I got where I am now, and how I've worked to recovery from an injury I had a while ago and learned about my passion for other workouts because of that. But I feel like a lot of that has already been said, and I don't want to be too repetitive.

All I know is that I've found what clicks in my head. I've found and done more working out than I feel I could have ever done. I'm running faster thanks to strength training, doing way way more outside and enjoying it because of cycling, swimming, and hiking. I'm continually moving and getting stronger. And in part, I do owe a lot of that to the Apple Watch in how it motivated me. But obviously the other part is my own stubbornness, but it's nice to have a little push.

It's also cool to see fitness-focused events, at the same event that inspired me to start finding ways to close my rings all the time, without any excuse.

I just want to say thank you to everyone that has, in any way, made the Activity and Workout apps. They truly are amazing, and I still, and will continue, to use them more than any other technology in my life. Thank you.
Jay Julz and Esther Nike+ Run Club

WWDC 2018 Predictions:

WWDC time! Time for great coffee, fun parties, and a whole lotta nerdiness in San Jose.

I'm super excited to go, and here's a few things I'm hoping will happen.

Wishes/predictions

  • Health updates - speedier, more information, more data types, and expansion upon the Health Records integrations.
  • Activity updates - I have a small feeling about a new ring, but a bigger feeling about more workout types such as strength training, or whichever is the most popular based on Apple's anonymized data.
  • Breathe updates
  • MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iMac Pro, Pro Pros. And a new Muse Single
  • New Apple Watch faces, and possibly announcements of an SDK of sorts for for faces. If not, at least different options for complications
  • New watchOS 5 APIs to help spur development of new, and better, Apple Watch apps.
  • I'm hoping for a lot and a lot of bug fixes and improvements, and possibly a related announcement about update times/software versions. Especially since it feels like absolutely no one has heard anything about 12.

It'll be interesting if any of the previous Marzipan rumors come true. But I'm not holding out hope for anything related to that.

watchOS

The Watch is turning 3 this year, and I think it'll be due for some interesting new features, as well as improvements to existing apps. Breathe and Activity are two I could see getting majors boosts, as well as the possibility of either enabling more health tracking features, or giving us a new ring to close. I'm pretty sure we'll also see new workouts as I said above.

The watch faces themselves I think will be getting more and more features. Since it was scrapped at the last minute last year, I could see a Connectivity complication coming back, therefore allowing you to see what status you have connection wise on any watch face. I would also like to see new things that make having the cellular watch more beneficial, although I can't name a ton off of my head.

I'm hoping that Apple also rekindles developer excitement for third party apps on the Watch. There are a few apps, like CARROT, workout apps, Starbucks, and more that are really great on the Watch, but you still hear a lot about companies like Lyft and Transit removing their apps. And while some may be coming back with a rewrite based on new SDKs, I'm just hoping that more developers are encouraged to actually bring their apps up to speed, in a beneficial way. Especially with the Series 3 expanded capabilities.

UpNext API

Speaking of this, I expect the Siri face to get some integrations so third party apps can show their info as needed on the Siri watch face, and maybe alongside others.

Homepod

It feels like the HomePod is where the Apple Watch was right after the initial release - it's gained its initial users, the early adopters, and is just waiting for the big thing that'll push it to more homes. That may be more size options, a better Siri SDK for apps to use, and independent/skills type integrations that you can install.

Apple Music

Apple Music is turning 3 this year, and the latest redesign/huge addition of features [besides a focus on music videos] was 2 years ago. I'm hoping it'll get smarter, as it has with the Siri capabilities, and possibly gain more features to intrigue new subscribers

Apple TV

Recently, Apple has been expanding its marketing efforts for more and more TV content. And Apple TV as a "brand" a la Prime video and Netflix, where you can go to watch content. While this may be more suited for a September event, I could see Apple, in iOS 12, expanding and having more focus on the app, its capabilities, and possibly give us hints [either on purpose or in code] about its subscription service coming up. Who knows, maybe we'll have Cue dancing to a bunch of TV shows on stage.

Homekit

Homekit, like Siri, has gotten more capable and prominent with the release of the HomePod. While Apple probably won't be making a bunch of home specific hardware itself, it could be expanding on the types of hardware it could use, while also bringing refinements to the Home app.

macOS

I'm not sure if we'll see any kind of future indication of the platform as a whole this year, but we certainly are slowly building up to it with things like APFS, High Sierra and the subsystem rewrites, and the continued morphing of macOS into a more iOS type system. Who knows, maybe we'll get Fusion Drive APFS support, some new apps, and possibly some interesting hardware tweaks.

iOS

I doubt we'll see as drastic of a change as we did with iOS 11, I'm going the iPad continues to get improvements, alongside the new hardware. As for the OS itself, I can see refinements on things like battery, CPU usage, and more smart features that benefit the end user, and the addition of "personal health" features in relation to device usage. Bedtime is one feature like this, but additional usage time metrics/specific app controls could also assist in helping people use their devices less.


As I write this, I'm definitely not having as many initiations or thoughts as to what may be announced, which gives me a little bit more excitement because there's all kinds of things Apple could surprise us with. I'm looking forward to sitting in a room full of nerds and watching the keynote. See you all next week.

Second Life - Motivating Others

It's no secret to anyone that reads anything I write how much the Apple Watch has motivated me.

What's even more inspiring is seeing how my actions are able to inspire others, as well as watching them continue a great fitness journey.

Federico Viticci just posted an amazing story about his commitment to a healthy lifestyle:

The Apple Watch has played a fundamental role in helping me get back in shape and commit to a daily exercise routine. I am not exaggerating when I say that the Apple Watch has become as important as my iPad in my daily life. Like other features of the Watch, there isn't a single, all-encompassing aspect that defines the experience; rather, it's a collection of small but meaningful options that have turned the Apple Watch into a must-have fitness companion for me. Closing the rings and sharing my Activity with friends (hi, Kyle) keep me motivated and publicly accountable. Standard and special event badges are fun to unlock and have the practical consequence of requiring me to train harder for certain achievements.6 Working out with a Polar H10 strap and AirPods connected to my Watch without having to use an iPhone makes me feel free and is delightfully futuristic.

Go give his story a read - it's super inspiring, and is among the many things that keeps me going. It's been awesome seeing Viticci's workouts every day - consistent, improving, and besting mine.

Be sure to also listen to the episode of Connected on Viticci's Second Life.

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