Apple’s Health App Needs a Redesign

Apple is touting the Apple Watch using three main arguments. The first is that it keeps time, and is accurate to within 50 milliseconds. (I’m so relieved by the fact that a watch in 2015 can be accurate, aren’t you?) The second is the “fun, spontaneous ways” you can communicate with “your favorite people.” And the third is probably the best selling point, given the way people have used wearables up until now: it offers “a smarter way to look at fitness.”

I have to agree with that. The tricircular interface on the Apple Watch’s Activity app, which shows how much you move, exercise, and stand, is a brilliant design.

However, much of the Apple Watch’s data will be piped through to the Health app on your iPhone, and the interface of that app is sorely in need of a redesign, even if we do get a separate companion Activity app for iPhone too.

There is a huge disconnect between the simple, intuitive interface of the Apple Watch and the dry, archaic look of the Health app. With nothing but straight graphs lacking easy-to-spot dividers, the Health app displays data in ways that will put off even the most earnest of exercisers.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Review: Withings Aura Sleep Tracker

Between never-ending Netflix binges and Kindles full of page-turners, we have plenty of distractions to keep us up at night. But you’ll surely regret that decision the next morning if you have a full day of work ahead of you. No matter the cause for your late-night habits, a lack of sleep can be a serious problem for many people–it can make you more likely to have car accidents, make you forgetful, lead to weight gain, and precipitate other health problems. Yet a recent study says that too much sleep can double your risk of stroke. So what’s a person to do?

Withings’ $300 Aura is a device that monitors your sleep, helping you determine if you sleep too little or too much. The Aura also offers sleep programs, with colored lights and sounds to help you fall asleep, and to help you wake up when you are in a light sleep phase. Withings claims that the reddish light the device emits before you go to sleep encourages your body to create melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. Conversely, the bluish light it emits while waking you inhibits melatonin, increasing your alertness.

Read the rest of my review on Macworld.

Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle — MacStories

I’ve been struggling to get back in shape after chemo.

Since being diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma (Stage IV) in late 2011, my life changed. Beyond the psychological and emotional consequences of how cancer affected me, my family, and my relationships, it is undeniable and abundantly clear that cancer took its toll on me from a physical perspective.

Last year, I decided to regain control of my body, my life habits, and my health. I started tracking everything I could about my activities, my exercise routine, the food I ate, and the time I spent working with my iPad instead of walking, sleeping, or enjoying time with my family. Since then, I’ve made a decision to not let cancer and its consequences define me any longer.

I want to be healthier, I want to eat better, and I want to take the second chance I was given and make the most of it. What started as an experiment has become a new daily commitment to improve my lifestyle and focus.

And it wouldn’t be possible without my iPhone.

A very moving story from Federico Viticci. He explains how Apple’s Health app helps him aggregate lots of different data streams, but also points out that he doesn’t rely on it to view the data. One of my gripes with the Health app is that its display is poor. The article is a great overview of the many apps you can use to track and enhance your health.

But, above all, Federico tells a great tale of beating cancer.

Life After Cancer: How the iPhone Helped Me Achieve a Healthier Lifestyle — MacStories.

My month as a HealthKit patient | Macworld

Worst of all is Apple’s own Health App, which takes a complex job–storing and visualizing all kinds of data about your health–and makes a pretty substandard job of it. For one thing, the charts it produces are hard to interpret, because it’s impossible to tell exactly what value is associated with each data point.

Marco Tabini writes something I’ve been meaning to say for a while. Apple’s Health app simply sucks; its data presentation is horrible. I can’t understand that Apple would release an app that is so un-user friendly.

via My month as a HealthKit patient | Macworld.

Review: Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor

Like millions of people, I need to keep an eye on my blood pressure. You can check it when you visit your doctor, but many people have “white-coat hypertension.” Just getting their blood pressure measured at the doctor’s office stresses them out, resulting in higher than normal readings. All the better reason to check it at home.

A regular arm-worn blood pressure monitor is around $50. So at $130, the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor isn’t competing on price, but rather convenience. Saving money doesn’t matter if you don’t wind up using the device, and Withings’ version makes checking your blood pressure a lot easier.

Read the rest of the review at Macworld.