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Posts tagged with "watchOS"

TV Remote: Control Your TV From Your Lock Screen, Home Screen, and Live Activities

Developers have come up with endlessly clever uses for interactive widgets. I love testing them all, but one type is beginning to stick more than others. It’s the widgets for apps that require quick interactions when you’re in the middle of something else. Turning off the lights in my home office when I’m finished working for the day, toggling work timers as I switch from task to task, and then checking off those tasks as I complete them are all perfect interactions for widgets that require minimal switching away from whatever I’m doing. Hopefully, that means fewer distractions and, in turn, a more productive day.

But not everything is about peak efficiency and checklists. Sometimes, you just want to relax, which widgets can help with, too. One of my favorite apps to help with that, which recently added interactive widget support, is TV Remote by Adam Foot. Foot’s app is one I already used with my LG C2 TV, but it’s the app’s new widgets that have graduated it to a regular part of my TV routine.

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Mercury Weather 2.0 Adds Trip Forecasts

If you’ve ever found yourself repeatedly checking the weather of a trip destination in the days leading up to your travels, you’ll appreciate Mercury Weather 2.0, which was released today for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The update’s marquee feature is Trip Forecast, which lets you set up a trip once and keep tabs on your destination’s weather as your travel dates approach. I reviewed Mercury Weather a couple of weeks ago, so for more on the app’s other features, be sure to check out that review.

From Mercury Weather’s Locations view, there’s now an option to add upcoming trips. Just add your destination and the dates of your trip, and it will appear in a separate, collapsable ‘Upcoming Trips’ section, along with the current conditions and dates of the trip. You can also name your trip and add a custom icon.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

As your departure date approaches, your destinations will appear along the top of the Daily Forecast graph. Tap a trip’s name to see that location’s weather forecast or the ‘Home’ button to return to your home location’s weather. Once your trip dates pass, the forecast for your destination just disappears from the app unlike destinations you might otherwise save in a weather app’s list of locations.

Trip Forecasts have been incorporated in Mercury Weather’s small and medium-sized ‘Daily Forecast (Customizable)’ widgets too. The widget includes a summary forecast for the next eight days, and if any of those days are part of your upcoming trip, it will show the forecast for that location instead of your current location.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Trip Forecast is an excellent addition to Mercury Weather. I love that I can set up a trip once and forget about it, letting the app show me the upcoming forecast as my travel day approaches and staying out of the way until then. One thing I still miss from other weather apps is radar data, but aside from that, I’ve loved using Mercury Weather this summer.

Mercury Weather is free to download on the App Store, with Home and Lock Screen widgets, the Apple Watch app, historical data, and more than one saved location available to subscribers for $1.99/month or $9.99/year, with a $34.99 lifetime purchase option. A Family Sharing subscription is $3.49/month, $16.99/year, or $59.99 for a lifetime purchase.

TimeWave: Stacked Timers Delivered with a Clean, Spare Interface

Timers are a staple of productivity systems, which is why there are so many of them on the App Store. My favorite timer apps are the ones that are the most flexible. A little structure goes a long way if you’re casting about for a system that works for you, but I prefer timer apps that can be adapted to multiple scenarios. That’s why I’ve enjoyed playing around with TimeWave so much.

The app, which works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, plus Apple Silicon Macs in compatibility mode, isn’t new, but in a sea of timer apps, its focused black-and-white design and regular updates caught my eye. TimeWave is pitched as a focus timer that can be used with the Pomodoro time management system, which is a good use of it. However, what’s best is that TimeWave can also be used as a habit tracker, cooking timer, exercise routine timer, and more.

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Mercury Weather: A Crystal Clear Design for Every Apple Device

There’s something for everyone in the weather app category. There are incredibly technical, complex apps, apps with a narrow focus, ones junked up with ads that don’t respect your privacy, and everything in between.

One of my favorite newer entrants in the category that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while is Mercury Weather, a weather app that’s available as a universal purchase on all of Apple’s platforms. The app, by Triple Glazed Studios, is a pleasure to use, combining a clear, simple design with coverage on of all of Apple’s platforms.

In some ways, Mercury Weather is a spiritual successor to Weather Line, a graph-centric weather app that was sold to an unnamed purchaser a couple of years ago, which some suspect was Fox Weather based on the app’s 2023 redesign. The comparison is apt but sells Mercury Weather short because its design is superior to what Weather Line’s ever was. The app uses beautiful gradient backgrounds to convey the temperature and conditions, along with a modern layout and clear typography to make it fast and easy to check current conditions and the forecast.

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Zenitizer: An Simple, Elegant Way to Practice and Track Meditation Sessions

Zenitizer 1.2, an iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS meditation app by Manuel Kehl, was released yesterday, adding iCloud sync support. The update means that progress toward your meditation goals and routines you create on any version of the app will sync across all devices for the first time. I recommended Zenitizer to Club MacStories readers not long ago when version 1.0 was released, but it’s such a well-designed and thought-out app, I wanted to go a little deeper today on everything it has to offer.

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watchOS 10: The MacStories Preview

Apple itself is hailing watchOS 10 as the largest software update since the introduction of the Apple Watch. I’m not sure I quite agree with that characterization, but it’s certainly the biggest update we’ve seen in many years. The tenth iteration of watchOS includes an exciting fresh take on some of its core interactions, including a reassignment of the hardware side button and a brand-new widget interface. Apple has released the watchOS 10 public beta today, which you can access as part of the Apple Beta Software Program.

There’s a lot to dig into here, but we’ll leave most of the digging for my official watchOS review later this year. For now, let’s take a look at the highlights of watchOS 10, what exactly has changed, and what seems to be working after just a few weeks of usage.

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Pedometer 5.0 Update Adds Map-Based Workouts, Live Activities, Accessibility Improvements, and Apple Watch Ultra Integration

David Smith announced the release of Pedometer++ 5.0 today, and it looks like a big one. Smith says 5.0 has been rewritten from the ground up using SwiftUI and includes:

  • Dynamic Type support
  • Workout tracking, which was previously Watch-only, is now available on the iPhone too
  • Live Activities that display distance and duration data or a map and distance preview are available in multiple styles
  • Map-based routes can be added by transferring GPX files to the iPhone app using the iOS share sheet, which then syncs them to your Apple Watch
  • Saved and favorite routes can be added to the Apple Watch too
  • Once on the Watch, routes can be used in a new maps-based workout tracking mode, which displays them live
  • The Apple Watch Ultra’s Action button can be used to start a walk quickly or to switch between map and metric views in the Watch app

I’m looking forward to giving this update a try. I’ve enjoyed using Footpath’s map integration as I explore North Carolina, and I’m curious to see how the apps compare.

Pedometer++ 5.0 is available as a free download on the App Store. Some features, including workouts, require a subscription.


Fitness App Gentler Streak Adds Wellness Tracking

Gentler Streak, the fitness app for the Apple Watch and iPhone that takes a holistic approach to training and recovery, has been updated to version 3.0 to incorporate additional health metrics, so users can get a broader picture of their overall wellbeing. I’ve had less than a day to test-drive the new features, but what I’ve seen so far looks promising.

Gentler Streak uses trend analysis to help guide your workouts. Your daily and 10-day activity trends are plotted within a band of intensity to help guide whether you should work harder or rest. The app also tracks individual workouts, your activity over time compared to previous periods, and includes insights and tips for maintaining a healthy life.

Gentler Streak tracks seven statistics drawn from Apple's Health app.

Gentler Streak tracks seven statistics drawn from Apple’s Health app.

With today’s update, Gentler Streak is adding a new tab to the iPhone that tracks seven health metrics: sleeping heart rate or resting heart rate when SHR is unavailable, sleep duration, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and wrist temperature. The app then uses that data to help guide your workout plans. For example, I didn’t get as much sleep as usual last night, so Gentler Streak suggested I take a break from working out today.

Each statistic in the Wellbeing tab is presented as a card-like widget that includes the current data, a 10-day trendline, and an indicator of whether the measurement is within normal ranges. Tapping on a card expands it for a bigger view that offers more information about what’s being measured and your results.

I’ve been using Gentler Streak for about a month and have found that its approach has kept me more motivated than closing my Fitness app Activity rings has. I still track those, too, but Gentler Streak is where I go to ensure I’m on track with my fitness goals while remembering to give myself a break now and then. It’s too soon to say what the Wellbeing tab will mean to my overall experience with the app, but I like what I’ve seen so far and plan to write more about Gentler Streak soon.

Gentler Streak is free to download from the App Store but requires a subscription to unlock some features.

Timery 1.5 Update Released with Lock Screen Widgets, Live Activities, New Shortcuts Actions, and More

Timery has been updated with a long list of new features and improvements that fans of the app are going to love.

Lock Screen Widgets and Live Activities

Timery's new Lock Screen widgets.

Timery’s new Lock Screen widgets.

First off, Timery has added iOS 16 Lock Screen Widgets and Live Activities. The Lock Screen widgets can display your current time entry, the total amount of time tracked today, or start a new timer. Each widget type includes circular and rectangular variants when added beneath the Lock Screen’s time, as well as a narrow in-line version that can be added to the top of the screen. The widgets can be configured to start a specific saved timer or show a list of timers and optionally show the app’s edit view for tweaking the details of the timer you start. It’s worth noting that Timery’s editing view now supports ‘@’ as a way to quickly search and add projects and ‘#’ for adding tags.

Timery's Live Activities.

Timery’s Live Activities.

Live Activities display the current time entry on the iPhone 14 Pro line’s Dynamic Island and the Lock Screen. Long-pressing either reveals additional information about the current project, task, and total time tracked for the day.

I’m a big fan of Timery’s new widgets and Live Activities because they offer the sort of glanceable details that weren’t possible before unless you were using the Mac version of the app and enabled its menu bar app. Now, I don’t have to unlock my iPhone or iPad to check on a timer, which allows me to get the information I want without getting distracted by other things on either device.

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