THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

SaneBox

Clean up your inbox today and keep it that way forever


Search results for "Pedometer++"

Pedometer++ Updated With Achievements and a Redesigned Widget

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.

Read more


Pedometer++ Gets Smarter Step Counting on Apple Watch and iPhone

David Smith’s Pedometer++ is one of the apps that got me back in shape and I’ve always appreciated the thought and care that he puts into it.

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.

Permalink

Pedometer++ Hits One Million Downloads

David Smith, on his app Pedometer++ hitting one million downloads on the App Store:

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).

Permalink

Pedometer++ 2.0

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++.

My problem is that I feel guilty whenever I open Pedometer++. I mentioned this on the latest episode of The Prompt, and David is aware of it.

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.

Permalink

David Smith’s Pedometer++ Demos the iPhone 5s’ M7

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.

Permalink

David Smith Tests the Apple Watch Ultra on a Three-Day Hike in Scotland

David Smith, the developer of Widgetsmith, Watchsmith, Pedometer++, and many other apps, put the new Apple Watch Ultra through its paces on a three-day hike through the Scottish Highlands. Dave confirmed what I’ve suspected all along. The Apple Watch isn’t so much an extreme sports watch as it is an Apple Watch with expanded capabilities that make it work better for strenuous activities like a three-day hike but also make it the best Apple Watch for the things an Apple Watch already does. As he puts it:

While I was putting together this review I kept coming back to the analogy that the Ultra is like a pick-up truck. Useful in regular, daily life but capable of heading offroad or carrying gravel from the garden store. It still drives like a regular car, but can do more.

Dave’s post is accompanied by a video journal of his trip shot on an iPhone 14 Pro. The video is full of great insights into the Ultra’s hardware, a couple of criticisms of its software, and loads of beautiful footage of the Scottish Highlands.

Permalink

Widgetsmith Is Coming for Your iOS 16 Lock Screen Too

It’s been two years since Widgetsmith took the App Store by storm. The app, which was created by long-time indie developer David Smith, lets users create custom Home Screen widgets. Then, shortly after the app’s release, it went viral when TikTokers discovered it and dropped Dave and his app squarely in the center of the Home Screen aesthetic phenomenon.

Two years later, it’s fair to say that few people know widgets like Dave knows widgets. He’s spent the past two years refining Widgetsmith. Also, Widgetsmith is just one of many apps Dave has released over the years, many of which included some of the best Apple Watch apps available. That unique combination of experience uniquely positioned Dave to take advantage of iOS 16’s Lock Screen widgets.

If you’ve used Widgetsmith to create Home Screen widgets, you’ll hit the ground running with Lock Screen widgets. There’s a new segmented control near the top of the iPhone app’s Widgets tab that toggles between Home Screen and Lock Screen widget creation. The Lock Screen view is divided between the inline text widgets that fit above the time on the Lock Screen and circular and rectangular widgets that sit below the time.

It's true, read the Messages section of his iOS 16 review.

It’s true, read the Messages section of his iOS 16 review.

When you tap to add an inline text widget, Widgetsmith opens its editor, which offers 11 categories of widgets, each which has its own set of options. The inline text widget can be used display whatever text you want that fits. Other options include multiple time, date, weather, calendar, fitness, and reminder widgets.

Setting up a circular widget.

Setting up a circular widget.

The circular widget offers six categories: photo, time, weather, step counting, reminders, and astronomy, each with multiple styles and available themes. Photos, which is also available to use with rectangular widgets, is interesting. It allows you to add a photo to the widget itself. Of course, the photo is rendered as a monochrome image when added to a widget, which can make images that aren’t high-contrast hard to see, but there’s also an option to isolate people from their backgrounds, which can help. The photo widget isn’t for me, but I can imagine situations where someone might want to add one. The rectangular widget category includes even more categories from which to choose. Between the overlap with other widget types, plus the Battery and Tides widgets, there are a total of 13 widget types that can be added to a rectangular widget and themed.

One of the best parts of Widgetsmith is browsing through its extensive catalog of widget types and then tweaking your favorites to make them fit with your own style. There are so many possibilities that I’d wager that the app has something to offer for everyone. If you want to dive deep in iOS 16 Lock Screen customization, Widgetsmith is a great place to start.

Widgetsmith is a free update on the App Store. The app offers a time-limited free trial after which it requires a $1.99/month or $19.99/year subscription.


Inc. Interviews David Smith About Widgetsmith’s Astonishing Success

Most MacStories readers are undoubtedly familiar with the story of David Smith’s app Widgetsmith, which took off last fall after going viral on TikTok. Yesterday, Jason Aten of Inc. published an interview with Smith about his career as an independent developer and how his 12 years of experience building 59 different apps prepared him for the unexpected success of Widgetsmith, which has been downloaded more than 50 million times.

As Aten aptly points out:

Often, the simplest form of success is what happens when a stroke of good fortune meets years of hard work and preparation. Plenty of people work hard their whole lives but never come across the kind of luck associated with having your app go viral on TikTok. At the same time, plenty of viral social media stories flame out immediately. They never put in the work or preparation that would allow them to capitalize on the moment.

As MacStories readers know, Widgetsmith isn’t Smith’s first App Store success. We’ve covered many of his other apps over the years, but Widgetsmith is in an entirely different universe than anything that came before it. For example, Aten reveals that:

Smith told me that Widgetsmith had more downloads in a single day than Pedometer++ has had in the entire time since it launched in 2013.

That’s remarkable given that Pedometer++ was probably the first pedometer app on the App Store and has remained popular in the seven years since it was released.

There are many valuable lessons in the Inc. story that are broadly applicable beyond app development. Some lessons are as simple as the value of practice and becoming an expert in your field. As Smith explains:

All of those other apps that I built in the past helped. I need to, for example, get the user’s current calendar events so that I can put it in a widget. I know how to get calendar events and pull them into a widget. I’ve done this in another app before.

Smith’s story also shows how easy it is to misjudge demand for a product in advance too. Along with Smith and others who have followed his work, I didn’t expect Widgetsmith to be popular beyond iOS power-users. Widgetsmith is a terrific app, but I never imaged its audience would be bigger than Pedometer++, but as Smith says in his interview:

And it turned out that everybody is that power user who was very fiddly about what they want their Home Screen to look like. I just completely misjudged the size of the market that I was addressing. I thought I was targeting a very specific group of people. And it turned out that that very specific group of people was like everyone.

If there are MacStories readers who still haven’t tried Widgetsmith, do so because it’s fantastic. But, also, don’t miss Inc.’s interview with Smith, which is an excellent look at the combination of hard work and luck that lead to ‘overnight success.’

Permalink

David Smith on Sleep Tracking in watchOS 7 and Its Likely Effect on Sleep++

Few developers have as many years of experience building Apple Watch apps or as many Apple Watch apps on the App Store as David Smith. One of Smith’s apps, Sleep++, has been available to users who want to track their sleep since watchOS 2.

During Monday’s keynote, Apple announced that it was adding sleep tracking to watchOS 7, placing the viability of Smith’s app in jeopardy. But ‘sherlocking’ as it’s called when Apple builds a system feature already provided by third parties, doesn’t necessarily mean a third-party developer’s app is doomed. As Smith explains, his step tracking app Pedometer++ saw increased sales after Apple began tracking users’ step count in the Health app because it raised awareness of the feature. In turn, that led some users to seek out third-party apps that could do more than Apple’s basic feature could.

After trying watchOS 7’s sleep tracking for a couple of days, Smith is optimistic that something similar will happen with Sleep++:

I suppose a good summary of my expectation is that right now (say) 1% of Apple Watch wearers think to try sleep tracking. After this fall, most Apple Watch wearers will be aware of it and (say) 50% will try it out. Apple’s approach will be sufficient for 90% of them, but 10% will want more. Leading to now 5% of Apple Watch wearers looking for a 3rd-party app to augment their experience…so I end up way ahead overall.

This is entirely speculative and it is possible that the market for Sleep++ will completely evaporate, but I’ve been doing this for long enough and have seen this pattern repeat itself often enough that I really don’t think so.

I’m eager to try Apple’s sleep tracking feature and see how apps like Smith’s Sleep++ improve with the availability of new data. There are a lot of third-party sleep tracking apps available, and they all use slightly different tracking methodologies. Hopefully, the addition of sleep tracking to watchOS 7 will raise the quality of them all, allowing developers to focus more on differentiating based on the features that extend the category beyond what Apple offers.

You can also follow all of our WWDC coverage through our WWDC 2020 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated WWDC 2020 RSS feed.

Permalink