Get Fit with Apple Watch: Using the Apple Watch for Health and Fitness (2015)
Part I. Apple Watch Basic Facts
Chapter 4. Running the Built-in Apps
Allen G. Taylor1
The built-in apps on the Apple Watch mirror many of the built-in apps on the iPhone but are adapted to the smaller form factor and screen size. In addition, there are new apps that are exclusive to the watch and make use of its features. In this chapter, I will give you a brief overview of the apps that correspond to iPhone apps, with special attention to differences between the two implementations. Native apps that are aimed at health and fitness, such as the Activity app and the Workout app, will be covered in detail in later chapters.
Text messaging is a two-way street. You can receive messages and also send them. With an iPhone it is possible to type a text message and send it. That is not really practical with the Apple Watch, which lacks a keyboard. However, you can record an audio message and then choose to send either the audio file or a text translation of the audio file, created by Siri’s speech-to-text software.
When you receive a message on your watch, it gives you the option of replying. A large number of communications can be answered with a brief reply that falls into one of a few categories. Your watch gives you the option of replying by tapping one of a number of “canned” responses, such as those shown in Figure 4-1.
Selected responses to an incoming text message
In addition to the ones shown in Figure 4-1, the following are other possible responses:
Sorry. I can’t talk right now.
Can I call you later?
An audio message
You can select one of a number of emojis, such as the one shown in Figure 4-2.
Happy face emoji
You can use the audio message to send either an audio or a text message using speech-to-text, if none of the standard replies listed previously is appropriate.
To make a call on your phone, you must pull it out of your pocket or purse and then get past your Lock screen, either with a code or a thumbprint. After selecting your phone icon, you can then choose between finding the person you want to call by specifying Favorites, Recents, Contacts, or Voicemail, or you can type in the person’s phone number on your phone’s keyboard.
The Apple Watch doesn’t have a keyboard. However, in most cases it is a lot easier to make a call from your watch than from your phone. Your watch is right there on your wrist. Just lift up your wrist and select the Phone icon from the Home screen (Figure 4-3), and you can find the person you want to call in either Favorites, Recents, Contacts, or Voicemail (Figure 4-4) just as you can with your phone.
Phone icon on the Home screen
Four ways to retrieve a phone number
If the person you want to call cannot be found in any of those categories, you will just have to pull out your phone to make the call. You will very quickly start to view this as a hassle rather than as being normal. Phoning with the watch becomes natural quickly.
The small screen of the Apple Watch cannot display everything that a phone can display. When a mail message comes in to the watch, the text of the message is displayed as well as a notice to the effect that there are elements of the message that have not been displayed. Figure 4-5 shows the display when a terribly important message came in from Google Analytics.
I have received a message regarding a free AdWords credit
Lacking a keyboard, the watch is not well suited for composing, typing, and sending e-mail messages. To do that, you will need to pull out your iPhone.
The Calendar app on your Apple Watch links to the Calendar app on your iPhone. Whenever you enter an event on your phone, it will appear on your watch too. If you are using the default watch face, any event occurring today will appear there too, which is a handy reminder. You will see it whenever you glance at your watch. The Calendar app displays any events that you have already entered with your phone or other device but does not allow you to change them with the watch. Figure 4-6 shows the reminder for an upcoming appointment.
I don’t want to miss this appointment with Steve
If you, like me, have bought your Apple Watch primarily as a tool to help you improve your health and fitness, then the Activity app is the one that you will use the most. In Chapter 5, I will cover the details of this health and fitness tool. Here I will only say that it is designed to get you to move your body more often and more vigorously than you otherwise would. In some ways, it acts like an addictive game, in which you constantly want to improve the best “scores” you have achieved in the past. It even supplies an assortment of “atta boys” called achievements to give you psychic rewards for reaching new levels of activity.
You can even brag to your friends about the latest achievements that you have earned to maintain a friendly rivalry that will improve not only your own fitness but the fitness of your Apple Watch–wearing friends as well. Come to think of it, I should text my brother right now and let him know about my latest two achievements. He probably has even more that he can tell me about and challenge me with.
The Workout app is one that you will not find on your iPhone. It uses the sensors in your Apple Watch to take data during your formal workouts. The data it takes and reports to you depend on the specific type of workout that you are doing. In Chapter 6, I will go into detail on all the different types of workouts that the app monitors. These include the following: outdoor run, outdoor walk, outdoor cycle, indoor walk, indoor run, indoor cycle, elliptical, rower, stair stepper, and the mysterious “other.”
The app enables you to set goals and then records your progress toward achieving them. You can compare your performance against your best previous performance at each different activity.
The Maps app on your Apple Watch is an extension of the Maps app on your iPhone. If your phone shows a particular location and the surrounding area, your watch will show the same location but not quite as much of the surrounding area. Figure 4-7 shows a map with a pin identifying a location.
A location near Interstate 205 is pinpointed
You can use the digital crown to either zoom in or zoom out. Zooming out will give you more context, while zooming in will give you more detail. Figure 4-8 shows the pinpointed location after zooming in. It is B.J. Willy’s Public House & Eatery.
Zoomed in view of location shown in Figure 4-7
If you asked Maps to give you a recommended route from one location to another using your phone, your watch will show the same route. If you are traveling from one of those locations to the other, you can refer to your watch for directions. Even better, as the helpful voice on your phone gives you directions, the haptic engine on your Apple Watch taps your wrist three times while sounding a tone, just before each turn that you should make.
Passbook and Apple Pay
On your iPhone, Passbook is the app you can use to store electronic images of boarding passes, shopping lists, retail coupons, and merchant loyalty cards. You can also store credit and debit cards on it. This makes it convenient to board an airplane or save money at the checkout counter. It also saves you from pulling out your wallet for the appropriate piece of plastic. In fact, your wallet could become a lot thinner, with many fewer cards.
On your Apple Watch, the Passbook app syncs with the Passbook app on your phone, so any cards, passes, lists, or coupons that you have there will also appear on your watch. You can consult your shopping list while shopping. As each item is checked at the register, it is removed from the list on your watch. Figure 4-9 shows an item that is on my shopping list but has not yet been checked out at the register.
I need to buy some almond milk
To pay with Apple Pay, present your watch to the appropriate reader just like you could present your phone when making a purchase or boarding a plane. Figure 4-10 shows the card you will be paying with and the merchant you are buying from. It also serves as your loyalty card for that merchant.
Buying groceries with Apple Pay
The advantage is that a flick of the wrist and a double-click on the side button is a lot easier and faster than pulling out your phone, getting past the Lock screen, and pulling up the Passbook app. You do have to pull up the Passbook app on your Apple Watch by tapping its icon on the Home screen, but as long as your watch has been on your wrist, it assumes that you are still you and does not ask you to prove who you are.
With watchOS 2, the Siri on your watch functions the same way as Siri on your phone. As long as you are within range of a Wi-Fi signal, you can access the Internet directly from the watch. In addition, there are a few things that Siri on your watch can do that Siri on your iPhone cannot. Siri on your watch can interface directly with the watch’s Activity app. Thus, you could say something like, “Hey, Siri, start a 20-minute run,” and Siri would start the Workout app. You don’t even need to open the app. Siri can also provide glances if you say something like “Hey, Siri, show me the Instagram glance.” You can access Siri by raising your wrist to wake up the watch and then saying “Hey, Siri.” Alternatively, press and hold down the digital crown until Siri asks you how she can help you. She will answer your question as text typed onto the watch face if she can, possibly accompanied by a snarky remark, or do your bidding in some other but nonetheless appropriate way. I just asked Siri what the current temperature is in Oregon City, Oregon. Figure 4-11 shows her response.
Siri delivers the current temperature in Oregon City
Wow. 104 degrees! I think I’ll pass on my usual two-mile run today.
One of the primary applications of the iPhone for many people is as a music player. The iTunes store offers a massive selection of music on a per-song or per-album basis. You can buy this music and play it on your phone, either through the phone’s speaker or through headphones. The Music app on the Apple Watch is an extension of what you have on your iPhone. You can call up any music that you own on your phone from your watch. You don’t need your phone to play music or audio, however. Your watch can store 2GB locally. The watch doesn’t have a great speaker, and it doesn’t have a headphone jack either. However, you can listen to high-quality audio through Bluetooth headphones, which don’t need to be plugged in to work. Up-tempo music can be encouraging while you are working out at the gym or while running or cycling. Figure 4-12 shows my watch while I am listening to an up-tempo running remix. This kind of music can really encourage you to pick up your pace.
Music to run by
Selfies can be a lot of fun but do not usually give you a well-composed photograph. It’s hard for a photographer to hold a camera and be part of a group shot at a family gathering at the same time. A time delay works fairly well, but usually somebody in the picture will look distracted or be scratching an itch when the picture is finally taken. Camera Remote is another new app that is exclusive to the Apple Watch. You can compose your group photo, including yourself, with your iPhone set in position. The display on your watch shows you exactly what your phone camera sees. With a tap, you can either take an immediate photo or set a delay of a few seconds so that the picture does not show you tapping your watch. As long as your watch is within Bluetooth range of your phone, you can come up with all kinds of creative ways to use the Camera Remote app. Bluetooth range is about 30 feet. Figure 4-13 shows a selfie of me, not holding my phone. Since I am not tapping my Apple Watch, you can tell I opted for the three-second delay.
The hands-free selfie
Whereas the Camera Remote app enables you to control your iPhone camera from your watch, the Remote app enables you to control your Apple TV or any iTunes library that you may have on a Mac or Windows PC within Bluetooth range. I no longer need to spend time hunting for my TV remote. With the Apple Watch, my remote is now right there on my wrist. Figure 4-14 shows the first part of the instructions for setting up the Remote function.
Adding remote control capability to your watch
The iPhone gives you a full update from The Weather Channel on today’s weather hour by hour, as well as current temperature, a ten-day forecast, and a number of statistics on sunrise and sunset times, chance of rain, humidity, wind, precipitation, air pressure, visibility, and UV index. The watch also gives the current temperature, ten-day forecast, weather hour by hour, sunrise and sunset and (by tapping) the chance of precipitation. Unless you are a real weather geek, the watch gives you everything you probably want to know about the weather today and for the next ten days.
That’s a lot of data, but the weather statistic that concerns me the most right now is the temperature. Figure 4-15 shows the current temperature and the predicted temperatures for the next 11 hours.
An hour before sundown, the temperature is all the way down to 1020
Figure 4-16 shows the first few entries in the ten-day forecast.
Happily it looks like things are cooling off a little.
The iPhone Stock app shows the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 stock indexes, as well as the current price and daily price movement of a number of securities of your choosing. It also displays a news feed for one of those indexes or stocks, which you can change with a tap to the screen. The watch displays the same indexes and securities but does not display news feeds. There is not enough screen real estate for that. Figure 4-17 shows the major indexes. Securities are listed below them. Scroll down to see them.
The Stocks app on Apple Watch
On the iPhone, subscribers to a shared iCloud photo album can post photos and view photos posted by other subscribers. You can subscribe to multiple shared albums. The Photos app on your watch shows the most recent photos in your current album as a mosaic of tiny images. Figure 4-18shows an example.
Lots of images crammed into a small space
By twirling the digital crown, you can zoom in on a single picture. You can also use the touchscreen to move around on the mosaic so that you can zoom in on images other than the one that happens to be located at the center of the display. Figure 4-19 shows the image one space to the right of the one in the center of Figure 4-18.
Photos display zoomed in to a single image
You cannot see any comments that may accompany an image or see the date it was uploaded or who has “liked” it. You may question the value of having an unordered collection of postage stamp–sized images at your beck and call, right on your wrist, but I imagine anyone separated from loved ones will appreciate being able to see the latest pictures that those loved ones have uploaded among all the other pictures in a family album. The small size of the image is probably not appropriate for fine-art photography or astrophotographs of planets and galaxies.
On the iPhone, the Clock app has an alarm function. On the Apple Watch, the Alarm app gives you the same functionality. It enables you to set an alarm in the same way that you would set the alarm on a bedside alarm clock. Figure 4-20 shows the Edit Alarm screen that you can use to set the alarm time, the frequency of repeating, the alarm label, and whether you want to activate the Snooze function.
Setting an alarm on your watch
Unlike an old-fashioned alarm clock, you can name an alarm with a label and set it to repeat on a daily basis or on the specific days of the week that you choose. Like an old-fashioned alarm clock, you can also give it a snooze function if you want. You can set multiple alarms, each distinguished from the others by its label.
Another function of the iPhone Clock app is the Stopwatch function. The Stopwatch app on the Apple Watch operates in pretty much the same way. You tap the green button at the lower right to start the stopwatch. It will turn red. Tap it again to stop the count. Tap the white button on the lower left to reset the display. Figure 4-21 shows the Stopwatch, with the analog display.
The Stopwatch is ready to start timing a run
The Timer app on the watch enables you to set a time in hours and minutes. When you tap the Start button on the screen, the display starts to count down. When the count reaches zero, a chime starts to sound and continues sounding until you dismiss it with a tap on the Dismiss button. Figure4-22 shows the timer set to count down 15 minutes.
The World Clock function of the Clock app on the iPhone displays the current time at five cities around the world. The World Clock app on the watch gives you the current time at the same five cities, even showing whether it is daytime or nighttime at those cities. This can be helpful in telling you whether it is a good time to call in the time zone of people you might consider calling. You can add additional cities or delete existing ones on the iPhone. Your watch will reflect the changes immediately. Figure 4-23 shows that it is nighttime in Portland at 9:45 p.m. but that Portland has not been in the dark for very long. An orange dot pinpoints the location of Portland on the world map, to the right of the terminator (the curvy line separating day from night).
World Clock, showing time in Portland, Oregon
The Settings app on the Watch deals with the main things you might want to set without pulling out your phone, such as the time, Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, or the Do Not Disturb function to turn off notifications and messages. Display brightness, sound level, and haptics can also be adjusted here. You can also control whether the passcode is functional, as well as change it. Figure 4-24 shows the first several items that you can control from the Settings app.
The settings on the watch mirror those on the iPhone
Versions of most of the built-in apps on the iPhone are also available on the Apple Watch. In addition, apps that are exclusive to the Apple Watch, such as the Exercise app, provide additional functionality. Versions of popular third-party apps are also available for download from Apple’s App Store. I will discuss some of them in Chapter 9.