Pedometer++ 3.0 is here with new ways to motivate you to get moving and view your step counts. David Smith’s step counting app has been on the App Store since the introduction in 2013 of the iPhone’s M7 chip that collects motion data. Since then, Smith has continuously refined the app by enhancing visualizations of your step counts, adopting new technologies like the Apple Watch, and adding ways to motivate users like the delightful confetti that’s launched when you reach your step goal.
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Today, David released a substantial update to Pedometer++ with an entirely new logic to coalesce steps registered by the iPhone and Apple Watch:
You might be wondering why I don’t use Apple’s Health.app merging system for this. After extensive testing about how that works I determined that it doesn’t really do a good job for step data. The Apple Health algorithm works around the concept of a ‘priority’ device. This priority device’s steps are then used in all instances except where that device is completely unavailable. In which case the secondary devices data is used to fill in the gaps.
The concept of a fixed priority device doesn’t really work for step data. As you move between the various activities of your daily life, the best device for measuring your movement is constantly switching. Thus you need a data merging algorithm that can dynamically analyze your step data and determine which device’s data is best at any particular time.
That is exactly what Pedometer++ now does. It goes through your daily data and can dynamically determine which device to use for any particular point in your day. The result is a much richer and complete picture of your daily activity than you’d get from Health.
I’ve tried many pedometer apps for iPhone and Apple Watch over the past few months, and I’ve noticed annoying discrepancies between data recorded by my iPhone and steps measured by Apple Watch. David’s intelligent system to reconcile steps taken sounds like what I’m looking for. It’s been a while since I wanted to really check out a new watchOS app, too.
Pedometer++ has become one of the most important apps in my portfolio and probably the app I’m now most widely known for.
It also carries with it an attribute that I’ve never experienced with any of my other projects—a sense of doing genuine good. I have had countless reports of how it has help people get healthier, recover from injury or lose weight. These are the stories that really impact me as a developer. The thought that something I made in my basement can have extended and improved people’s lives is truly remarkable.
David’s commitment to the app through the years is equally remarkable. Pedometer++ is one of the apps that is helping me live a healthier lifestyle, and it improved so much since the original version (which we first covered here).
David Smith’s step counter for the iPhone 5s started as a simple experiment but turned into a quite popular utility. Today David has released version 2.0 of the app, which comes with a nice visual update that lets you see a week’s worth of data with a clever use of color. I think that the new UI is much better than before, and I really like how the M7 is allowing developers to build new apps like Pedometer++.
This app has generated more guilt than anything else I’ve ever created. I am constantly hearing from people who say that they open the app and are shocked at how little they actually move in a day. I know for myself it wasn’t until I actually measured it that I realized how sedentary my life was. It is sobering to see that you only took 2,000 steps in a day and realize just how unhealthy that likely is.
Pedometer++ 2.0 is free on the App Store.
It hasn’t been said (or if it has been it’s been buried underneath a litany of other geeky details), but the M7 coprocessor in the iPhone 5s records your movement data whether you’re using apps or not. Without apps, the M7 keeps a basic log of data, determining whether your phone is in motion and how to decide if it’s an appropriate time to ping for network data. With apps such as Pedometer++, free on the App Store, it’ll pull off current data and a small history of what the M7 has already recorded. The best part about this is when you go to switch apps or use a different one, there will already be a solid baseline of data for apps to draw upon.
I’ve always struggled to find apps that understand how people work across multiple time zones. In the 10 years I’ve been writing MacStories, I’ve come across dozens of time zone conversion utilities (and I even created my own with Shortcuts), but as someone who works remotely with people all over the globe, I know there’s more to time zone management than just performing a quick conversion. Perhaps you’re planning a Skype call with three more people, each living in a different time zone; maybe you have to coordinate a product launch and need to know at a glance what “3 PM GMT” means for your customers in New York, San Francisco, Rome, and Sydney. CalZones, the latest app by _David Smith, is the first iOS app I’ve ever used that fundamentally gets how people work and schedule events across multiple time zones. It’s almost like CalZones was made specifically for me, and it’s an app that speaks directly to my heart.
CalZones, available today on the App Store as a Universal app, is based on a simple, ingenious concept that, to the best of my knowledge, has never been done on the App Store before: the app combines a time zone viewer with a calendar client, enabling you to compare times across multiple cities as well as view and create calendar events that display start/end times in multiple formats. By fusing time zone comparisons and calendar events into one product, Smith was able to create an app that is greater than the sum of its parts because it solves a problem that neither traditional world clocks nor calendar clients could fix before.
What should a wrist computer ideally do for you?
Telling the time is a given, and activity tracking has become another default inclusion for that category of gadget. But we’re talking about a computer here, not a simple watch with built-in pedometer. The device should present the information you need, exactly when you need it. This would include notifications to be sure, but also basic data like the weather forecast and current date. It should integrate with the various cloud services you depend on to keep your life and work running – calendars, task managers, and the like. It doesn’t have to be all business though – throwing in a little surprise and delight would be nice too, because we can all use some added sparks of joy throughout our days.
Each of these different data sources streaming through such a device presents a dilemma: how do you fit so much data on such a tiny screen? By necessity a wrist computer’s display is small, limiting how much information it can offer at once. This challenge makes it extremely important for the device to offer data that’s contextual – fit for the occasion – and dynamic – constantly changing.
Serving a constant flow of relevant data is great, but a computer that’s tied to your wrist, always close at hand, could do even more. It could serve as a control center of sorts, providing a quick and easy way to perform common actions – setting a timer or alarm, toggling smart home devices on and off, adjusting audio playback, and so on. Each of these controls must be presented at just the right time, custom-tailored for your normal daily needs.
If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because this product already exists: the Apple Watch. However, most of the functionality I described doesn’t apply to the average Watch owner’s experience, because most people use a watch face that doesn’t offer these capabilities – at least not many of them. The Watch experience closest to that of the ideal wrist computer I’ve envisioned is only possible with a single watch face: the Siri face.
It’s been a busy week of app updates. We’ve already covered many of them, but there are always more good examples of apps that show off feature of iOS 12 like Siri shortcuts or watchOS 5’s new functionality. So, we’ve collected some additional favorite updates from this past week from Federico, John, and Ryan.
“There’s an app for that” may have been coined as a marketing term in 2009, but in 2018 the phrase is indisputable. With over 2 million apps on the App Store, there is seldom a niche unexplored, and few obvious utilities not rapaciously overindulged. The App Store is a worldwide phenomenon, an enormous entity providing instant access to a treasure trove of software for hundreds of millions of people. Things have come a long way in a decade.
Ten years ago today, the App Store launched with 552 apps, available only on the original iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPhone 3G (which shipped the day after). The developers of those apps overcame a fascinating set of challenges to secure front row seats in one of the greatest software advents in history. Many of these apps were built into sustainable businesses, and continue in active development today. Even those that didn’t make it are still testaments to their time, effortlessly invoking nostalgia in users who participated in that era.
The early days of the App Store were a journey into the unknown for Apple, third-party developers, and users alike. The economics of the store were entirely unrealized – nobody knew which app ideas would work or how much they could charge for an app. Apple’s processes for approving apps were primitive, their developer documentation was fallow, and they still thought it a good idea to make developers sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to access the SDK (software development kit). For iPhone users, every new app could completely revolutionize their mobile experience, or it could be another icon they never tapped on again.
Despite this uncertainty, developers pushed forward with their ideas, Apple hustled as many apps through approval as it could, and on July 10, 2008, users exploded enthusiastically onto the scene. Within the first year of the App Store, iPhone and iPod Touch owners had already downloaded over 1.5 billion apps. From the beginning it was clear that the App Store would be an unmitigated success.