Pedometer++’s Apple Watch Overhaul

I’m delighted to announced version 3.2 of Pedometer++ today. It includes compatibility with all the newly announced Apple products and operating systems, but more importantly it includes a dramatic overhaul of its Apple Watch app.

The old Apple Watch app was extremely limited in what it could do. In many ways a holdover from when it was first imagined for the original Apple Watch. The capabilities and performance of modern Apple Watches have moved forward profoundly since then. This update is all about taking advantage of everything that is now possible on the Apple Watch and turning Pedometer++’s watch app into a first class experience for all pedestrian workout types.

The new Apple Watch features require watchOS 5. Devices running watchOS 4 will retain their current featureset.

Watch App Overview

The new app starts off the same way as before with a detailed view of your current day’s steps. The bar graph shows your steps each hour. On devices that support it you’ll also see your current day’s floors climbed total.

If you swipe right you’ll be able to start a workout within the app. These include Walking, Running, Hiking and Other workout types. For outdoor types you can now optionally have Pedometer++ record the GPS track of the workout. This GPS data is then saved along with the workout into the Health app from which it can be read by apps like Activity or Workouts++.

The Hiking workout mode has been dramatically enhanced in watchOS 5 to provide more accurate tracking of hiking activities. It is best to choose this mode for situations when you will encounter significant elevation changes on your walk.

During your Workout

Once you start a workout you’ll be presented with a beautiful and completely customizable workout display. The new workout display screen can be tailored to show exactly what you find useful during your workout. The available metrics are:

  • Duration
  • Distance
  • Steps (Either your daily total or just this workout)
  • Heart Rate, Heart Rate Graph
  • Average Speed or Pace
  • Current elevation, Elevation Profile Graph (requires GPS to be enabled)
  • Calories

Additionally, you can also add graphical displays to your workout display. The Heart Rate Graph shows how your exertion levels change throughout the workout. The Elevation Profile graph shows you the terrain you’ve tackled during your activity with color coded segments indicating the difficulty of the elevation change.

You can configure which of these metrics are visible by swiping to the left from the workout display screen and tapping on the Settings (gear) icon. Then tap on the metric you want to enabled/disable. Note that not all metrics are available for all activity types (for example, speed/pace/distance aren’t available for Other workout types).

Swiping to the right lets you access two new informational displays.

The first is a media control that lets you control the audio playing from your iPhone or Apple Watch without leaving Pedometer++. This includes a volume control and playback (play/pause/skip/rewind) controls.

The second shows you a map of your current workout track. This requires that GPS tracking is enabled for the workout. Your current location is indicated by the green marker. The map requires an active network connection to display.

New Complications

The Apple Watch Series 4 includes two brand new watch face types designed to take full advantage of its larger display. These are the Infograph and Infograph Modular. These faces let you pack in a tremendous amount of data onto your Apple Watch’s main display.

Pedometer++ has been updated to support all the possible complication types. I especially like the look of putting Pedometer++ as the top middle complication on the analog watch face. Your goal progress will be indicated by the colored circle filling in through the day with your current step count shown along the watch bezel. In the Modular face you can now even have your detailed daily step graph shown in the middle of the face at all times.

Conclusion

This update is just the very start of significant series of improvements I have planned for Pedometer++ this fall. My goal is to make Pedometer++ the absolute best app for tracking pedestrian activity on your iPhone and Apple Watch, period. This update moves me much, much closer to that goal on the Apple Watch. I hope you join me for this journey. I am really looking forward to seeing just how great I can make the app.

Pedometer++ is free in the App Store.

David Smith




» Under the Radar #140: The Mad Rush

Marco and I discuss the feelings and process of finalizing our iOS 12/watchOS 5 updates, the pitfalls of working on devices we can’t touch yet and what we’re hoping to launch soon.

David Smith




» Under the Radar #139: Taking Breaks

Marco and I return from our summer break from the podcast to talk about what else…taking breaks. Breaks are a powerful tool in our arsenal for keeping up the quality and intensity of our work.

David Smith




Pedometer += 5,000,000

One my apps just hit a significant milestone. Pedometer++ had its 5,000,000th download. I find it mind bending to even imagine a number like that. It works out to be roughly the population of Ireland.

It is remarkable to me how something so simple can have had such a far reaching appeal. While the number is very fun and something I’m quite proud of, by far the coolest part of making this app has been the countless stories from users who have used it as part of a broader life change. It is truly staggering that something that started it’s life as a few UILabels and a switch could have gone on to be a part in genuinely improving the quality and health of people’s lives.

I am very grateful for all of the customers of the app, and while there are rather too many of you to thank individually, please consider this my thank-you note to all of you.

—Dave

David Smith




Generating Testing Device Wallpapers

A while back I mentioned that I had started creating wallpapers for my testing Apple Watches to show their type, configuration and which iPhone they were paired with. I typically have at least five Apple Watches on my desk at once so it is very easy to get confused about which one is which.

These initial wallpapers were manually created in Notes.app and then screenshotted. That worked fine but it meant they had a white background and quickly fell out of date which wasn’t ideal. They were also kinda ugly which bothered me.

So I have made a little utility to automate the creation of these and streamline the whole process. They now look like this:

I’ve published the code for this utility here. This isn’t a project I expect to maintain or manage or support but if it is useful to you, then that’s awesome.

The resulting raw files look like this:

Once you have generated the file you then open up the Photos app and hit ‘Share’. Then tap on ‘Create Watch Face’ and you are all set. Simply repeat this process anytime you need to update the configuration for a device. It also generates corresponding iOS device wallpapers for the paired iPhone.

To collect the Apple Watch details I use the Health framework to pull the most recent pulse sample and then analyze it’s HKDevice source. This is a weird use of the Health framework but for use in a development-only app like this it seems fine to me.

David Smith