Apple Watch :: Get motivated

by Volker Weber

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I am trying to find things that the Apple Watch does better than Pebble. And this is one of the things it does very well.

Watch tracks three goals: move, exercise, stand. With stand you have to be standing up at least a minute every hour. You close the ring by reaching this goal 12 times in a day. Be careful to not read this as "get into the kitchen and fix yourself a sandwich" though. Exercise is a 30 minute goal. Doctors say you should exercise 30 minutes each and every day to stay healthy. This is the easiest ring to close. Just get off your bottom and take the stairs instead of the elevator. These two goals are fixed. Move counts active calories and is adjustable. I set 750 calories which I can reach by walking 15000 steps a day. I could do 1000 calories but that would put me into too much stress.

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When you complete a ring it just keeps going and paints on top of the completed ring. A couple of hours later I have reached the move goal, completed the exercise goal three times, and have yet to reach the stand goal. A brisk one hour walk at noon plus a morning run easily get you to 90 minutes but you can't speed up 12 hours.


You can put the activity tracking into a corner of your watchface. Now you try to complete those rings before the battery ring disappears. But, seriously, battery performance is great. Yes, you should recharge at night, but I never ran out of power, even in a long and busy day.


This works very well for me. Very very well. Especially since it keeps those rings in a calendar and you can see with one glance how you have done over time. While there is an urge to raise the exercise bar, I think it is very smart that Apple fixed this at 30 minutes. You can do more, but you really don't have to. 30 minutes a day is good. Two hours every single day without a rest probably is not.


It is fascinating how modern society is solving problems that, without modern society, would not exist.

Dirk Rose, 2015-06-01

We could all still be working on a farm. Unfortunately we could not feed everybody by doing that. Without modern society you could also not develop certain illnesses because you would be dead already.

Not enough workout has been a huge problem for me. But I am solving it. One step at a time.

Volker Weber, 2015-06-01

There is one more important thing the Activity App is providing to motivate you and that are: Achievements.

Earning a medal for reaching a target of the day, a weak or month is working for me.

I am wearing the Apple Watch for a month now and I love it.

Detlev Pöttgen, 2015-06-01

In other words, if you don't need or want a health tracking device, don't get the Apple Watch?

It just seems to be limited to that application, because that is all you can really read about it. Ok...there are notifications...but isn't there anything else it can do?

Johannes Matzke, 2015-06-01

Completely agree: In comparison to Jawbone this is triggering movement - which I do need as I am naturally too lazy.
What else can you do with the AppleWatch? Checking the time as on your Breitling ;)

Bernd Schuster, 2015-06-01

I can search, open and close BMW Drive Now Cars in Hamburg, Munich and many more citys, control the Philips Hue light at home, boarding is much easier with Lufthansa since Apple Watch without putting the phone out of the pocket, order a taxi right from the wrist with My Taxi and much more...
I think, the Apple Watch is much more than checking the time and control steps even right now in version 1.0.1 !!

Marten Mochel, 2015-06-01

Johannes, your statement is kind of backwards. There are thousands of reasons not to buy something. In the case of a smartwatch, I would think of those:

1. I already have a watch.
2. I don't want a watch.

Having a more recent iPhone makes a huge difference to not having a phone at all. A smartwatch does not add much to that difference. But once you have that iPhone and you contemplate what to spent your next €€€ on, a smartwatch or an activity tracker are possibilities. Now we get to the point, which one would make you happy.

I have tried quite a few trackers as well as smartwatches. This is why I see Apple Watch in this context. And I have to say that Apple has nailed this problem. That is what I am describing here.

If you just need notifications and a simple step tracker, Pebble is an excellent option for a lot less money.

Volker Weber, 2015-06-01

I converted my computer desk to a standing desk six months ago by adding a cheap IKEA side-table on top of the actual desk and mounting my monitor on the top desk with a Dataflex 212 monitor arm (total cost about 100 Euro). No problem at all to stand for 1 minute an hour since I did that! I often stand for 30-40 minutes or more an hour several times a day.

Now, exercise on the other hand...

John Keys, 2015-06-01

Volker - as a person that has still not seen an apple watch, but in the market for an activity tracker, would you recommend it? I exercise quite a bit, but do not keep any records on heartbeat or motion. Would like to change that. I think an apple watch would fit my "apple" world well, but are there health features on other devices that would trump this watch for health? Do you think (I know you have no crystal ball) waiting for version 2 would be better? Any thoughts on the response time to third party applications? I have heard mixed reviews. Sorry for the dump of questions, but your judgement is one of the few I would trust.

Paul Mooney, 2015-06-01

@ Vowe: Point taken. Kind of. Because your entry argument is kind of a thought terminating cliché. I am not looking for a reason not to buy the watch, I am looking for one to do it. and step tracking isn't one just for me. But if it is particular good with activity tracking I understand your post.

Still, there seem to be lots of possibilities besides step tracking, as Marten explained. So maybe the watch might still be something for me. let's wait for V 2.0 hardware.

one question though: can you turn off all the health data collecting stuff?

Johannes Matzke, 2015-06-02

Yes, you can turn off both heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking. Frankly, that's like buying an e-bike and turning off the motor. It's still operational but you bought the wrong bike.

Volker Weber, 2015-06-02

@Paul, although I love the Apple Watch ... the biggest downside so far is the fact that third party apps can't access the heart rate monitor and the built-in workout app doesn't provide maps and audio notification.

There is a workaround for this (I combine the built-in app and Nike+ running). It's a bit tricky first but once you have the right order it's not that bad to use. Just wrote a blog entry about this but don't want to hijack Volkers page without permission.

Beside that I think access to heart-rate monitor for third-party apps will be available once native apps are possible (this fall) as the limitiation seems to be due to health data being encrypted as long as the iPhone is locked.

Harald Gaerttner, 2015-06-02

Harald, go ahead and help us with a link.

Paul, Apple Watch is excellent if you are not concerned about your performance as an athlete. It just keeps you going. If you want to track and improve your performance (read: be a faster tri-athelete) your best choice appears to be the Garmin Fenix 3.

Volker Weber, 2015-06-02

If you are looking for a sports watch review, is your one stop shop.

Max Nierbauer, 2015-06-02

As said, I got it working together with Nike+.
Didn't get it in combination with Runkeeper and Runtastic but other reported they found a way to make it work with those too.

Harald Gaerttner, 2015-06-02

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