Entries tagged as watchOS 2

A year with Apple Watch & Yunmai Smart Scale

Achieving one full year of hitting daily Move goals with Apple Watch

It's now been one full year since I started wearing Apple Watch Sport and now is a good time to give you an update. I have been wearing it all the time except when it needs to be charged, so it has been through a lot. Daily showers and occasional swimming sessions may have caused a bit of degradation on the left edge of the screen, and an encounter with a rough surface left the glass with noticeable scratch lines. Despite all this, it's holding up well and functioning normally. I'll probably send the device in for replacement using AppleCare+ after I buy the next version, though.

In terms of battery life, it has consistently delivered at least 24 hours of use for me, except during early watchOS 2.0 betas. So I'm now accustomed to about 22 hours of use (with about 10 to 30% left as I take it off) and 2 hours of charging. The only times I wish the battery life was longer is when I do long-distance travelling, where the active time might stretch beyond 30 hours.

As for its uses, I've settled on the watch mainly being a quick notification-response device and a fitness tracker. Those two functions currently work fairly well. Meanwhile, the native app support with watchOS 2 has been hampered with the relatively slow performance. It often makes me want to reach for my iPhone instead of loading the relevant app on the watch. This needs to be addressed in the near future if Apple Watch is to be taken seriously beyond being an "accessory."

Now, the fitness tracker part of the watch was something I was looking forward to when I bought it. I have lost weight through exercise before, but lack of reminders once the goal was reached resulted in regaining some of that weight after a few months. So I decided to make good use of Apple Watch to keep me stay fit. I made sure to reach the daily Move goal every day, which had been set to 450 kcal after the first month. Missing this goal only a couple of times, I was able to earn the "365" badge you see above two days ago. Let's see the activity and weight trends in detail.

A Year of Using Apple Watch - graph of active & resting calories and weight trends
Why did I choose the 450 kcal mark? This is generally about 200 kcal more than I would normally burn through a normal day. 50 minutes of walking or 20 minutes of jogging can fill that in - these activities can easily blend into the daily routine and also conveniently make me reach the 30-minute Exercise goal in the process. Basically, I can get the bare minimum amount of exercise that Apple Watch recommends via its three-ring system with that setting. The graph evidently shows that I don't actively seek out to go beyond this goal unless something else is going on, like when I'm traveling. Some of the big spikes correlate to my overseas trips - New Zealand in May (2015), UK in July, and Japan in September, to name a few.

As a side note, the data for the resting calories starts on July 9 because this is when watchOS 2.0 beta 3 came out and made Apple Watch start recording this data on iPhone's Health database. Before that, the data resided only within the Activity app, likely because it was rudimentary and static, not to mention less accurate - it was about 40 to 50% more than expected. Since the update, the resting calories data is recorded in real time and seems to be more in line with the mainstream calculations.

Interestingly, I noticed that just reaching the Move and Exercise goals wasn't doing a particularly good job of shedding the weight in the early months. I did have a weight scale and occasionally checked my weight with it, but it hovered between 83 and 84kg without any upward or downward trend during that time. Besides, I never got around to recording the data anyway. The only data point during the period was from the annual check-up at my workplace. I decided to do something about it and got myself a so-called "smart scale" with Bluetooth connectivity in August.
Continue reading "A year with Apple Watch & Yunmai Smart Scale"

Today's "The Toon-Box"

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watchOS 2 beta 4 freezing issue

Apple Watch's "Simple" (left) and "Modular" (right) faces

After I installed watchOS 2 beta 4 when it came out on July 22, 2015 (July 21 at Apple HQ), my Apple Watch felt more sluggish than usual. Even the terrible beta 1 wasn't like this. What's worse, the watch froze up after a few hours. I noticed that it'd never last more than 4 hours at a time, requiring a forced restart (pressing side button and digital crown together for 10 seconds) to get it working again.

I tried resetting and restoring, then resetting and setting up the device as new. Neither fixed the issue. Somehow, this beta was unusable on my watch. If this problem was happening to everyone, I would've heard about it and Apple would be pulling the beta, but this wasn't the case. Most people were actually saying it worked better than previous betas, which baffled me. Then I eventually found someone else having the same problem.

It turns out, having the watch face set to "Simple" was the culprit. Using another watch face ("Modular" was recommended) supposedly solved the problem. So I changed the face to Modular and indeed the problem went away. I had been using the Simple face for nearly 3 months, so I never thought of changing it to anything else. Who knew a bug in the beta would force me to do otherwise?

Using Simple face on beta 4 had serious impact on battery life as well - about as bad as the infamous beta 1. Also, it kept consuming battery while the device froze up, too. I went to sleep with the fully charged watch, only to find out that it froze up about two hours in, and had 37% of charge left after 5 hours when I woke up. So I'm guessing the watch face steadily hogged system resources until everything else became inoperable, but kept going.

So if any of the developers with watchOS 2 beta 4 are experiencing lock ups and slow performance, avoid Simple watch face and switch to something different before resetting your watch.
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On watchOS 2 beta 2 and iOS 9 beta 2

Installing watchOS 2 beta 2 on my Apple Watch

As many people including myself noticed, iOS 9 beta 1 and watchOS 2 beta 1 had horrible battery life. After two weeks of bearing this, beta 2 of both OSes arrived on June 23 (June 24 in Korea), amidst the hope that they would fix or lessen this battery problem. The one for Apple Watch was pulled just after release, but then re-uploaded a few hours later. I was able to have these betas installed on my iPhone 6 Plus and my Apple Watch as soon as I could.

It's now been more than two full days since and Apple Watch has finally been launched in Korea with people lining up in front of the store despite the rain. For those people who were now wondering if the new beta is anything worth diving into for their shiny new watch, here's my verdict. Yes, it's better than 2.0 beta 1, but no, it's not quite as battery-efficient as 1.0.1. As for the iOS 9 beta 2, its battery life is back to being as good as 8.3 for my iPhone 6 Plus, which was excellent.

This is good news for iPhones, but for Apple Watch, sticking to a non-beta version is still recommended if you value long battery life. As you've seen before, 1.0 / 1.0.1 version delivered about 26 hours of continuous usage on average for me, which included daily exercising and moderate interactions. 2.0 beta 1 effectively halved this, often getting only 12 hours and conservative use barely pushing it to 18 hours. So I'd say that's roughly 15 hours per charge, to be generous. With 2.0 beta 2, I've been getting about 21 hours of use daily so far, barely good enough for one-charge-a-day routine but lacking any comfortable margin.

Meanwhile, the apps do run smoother again, almost like 1.0.1, making the experience less annoying overall. There are still some noticeable bugs, like the one that prevents scrolling with digital crown in certain notifications. This has been persisting since beta 1. Another problem I am seeing is that the voice call volume is quite low and rebooting doesn't fix it. This one seems to be new for this beta. Anyone who's seeking cutting edge, beware.
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Summary of Apple Watch reviews

Apple Watch's Korean launch is just a few days away (June 26) and I'd like to offer you a nicely consolidated list of all my reviews for your convenience. I hope this will help you get some idea on whether you should get one and how you should use it if you do.

Preview Summary
1. One of the first Apple Watch in Korea
Sent three days after the official release in the US and arriving about a week later, one of the first Apple Watch to land in Korea gets prompt unboxing and gets ready for a full review.
2. Getting the Apple Watch up & running
I have the bands installed in place and the battery wirelessly charged up, so that I can pair the Apple Watch with my iPhone 6 Plus and make it work.
3. Basic screens & buttons of the Apple Watch
Apple Watch's many screens are explored, including the watch face, lock screen, home, and favourites. I also try out the digital crown and the side button.
4. Notifications & contacts on Apple Watch
As one of the primary functions, I took a look at how the notifications appear and interact. Then I tried contacting someone with Apple Watch, either through text or voice.
5. Apple Watch's daily life tracking
Fitness tracking with Apple Watch is explored, including the heartbeat measurement with an integrated sensor and the daily activity logging through a three-ring system.
6. Running, swimming with Apple Watch
I had both Nintendo Wii Fit Plus and Apple Watch record indoor running sessions to see how they compare. Then I went swimming with my Apple Watch to see if it'd actually work.
7. Apple Watch as an extension, stand-in
I tried using Apple Watch as a replacement for membership cards. Then I remote controlled my Apple TV and iPhone 6 Plus camera with it, as well.
8. Battery life of the Apple Watch
I recorded my Apple Watch's battery life for three weeks, through international travels and all sorts of exercises, to see if Apple's claims stood up.
9. More Apple Watch observations
I took a look at how fast the Apple Watch charges up and how step counting data are consolidated. Also, I have some more tips and observations on its daily use.
10. 45 days with Apple Watch & watchOS 2
Seven weeks later, the hardware of Apple Watch Sport is still standing up quite well. But early watchOS 2 and iOS 9 betas are incredibly rough to use.

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