Helix Apps

Home of fantastic apps for Apple Watch including Heart Analyzer and Fitness Friend! Hopefully you’re here to find out more about these apps or get support and provide feedback on your experience.

I have now been developing apps for iOS and WatchOS for nearly three years. I’m delighted to have two, free to download, apps on the Apple App Store which thousands of people download every month. In the future I hope continue improving and developing these apps. The are both written in Swift 4 with a good code base for future additions and expansion of features.

Please do get in touch with me if you have any particular feedback you’d like to share on the current apps or if you have ideas/wishes for the future.

Simon

15/08/19

Heart Analyzer, an update

Heart Analyzer, as a publicly available app for iOS and WatchOS, will have been around for 3 years this September. In that time it has been able to break new fronts on development of Health Apps for the Apple Watch(Caveat: Apps for the Apple Watch don’t necessarily have to run on the Watch, their main functionality can be from using data measured by the Watch). This new ground started with the ability to graph the heart rate data measured by Apple Watch. At the time, Apple offered no form of graphing capability and all this data was going missed by users. The second significant feature Heart Analyzer pioneered was auto detecting/inferring users sleep times from data collected by the Watch. Whilst many apps now offer this feature, and many in a better way (yes, says the Developer!) is was still the first to do it and helped other developers and users realise this capability. The last thing that also runs right from day 1 with Heart Analyzer is user privacy. The policy has always been simple, No signing in, No advertising, No user data harvesting and in fact, no cellular or wifi data usage on the users device what so ever. This includes third party analytics. By keeping these policies in a stringent manner from the start, I am confident in the anonymity and privacy of the app users.

To me, the above all sound like the most amazing groundings for possibly the best app ever for Apple Watch. But the fact is, its not.

So, digging into why this is the case has taken some serious time and thought. After this deliberation I have come to the conclusion that the reason the App is not mainstream popular is that it is too bulky. The simplest analogy for this would be that if one was assembling square cardboard boxes, and stacking them upon each other, they would be developing Heart Analyzer. The skill initially of assembling the first boxes was low, but despite this they have continued to build more and more, and stack more and more on top of each other. Any work now done on the app requires extra care and attention to ensure it doesn’t cause incorrect behaviour or crashing somewhere else in the app.

The solution for this problem is simple, re-write the app…. In practice however, this is a massive undertaking which is why it has not happened sooner.

But the time does now seem right. With the Apple Watch where it is now in terms of capability and then with WatchOS 5 & iOS 12 around the corner, it only seems sensible to start now. Apple has also put significant focus on the Apple Watch heart rate features recently and its clear that’s it’s one of the public’s favourite features of the watch. This all means that Heart Analyzer needs this re-write, re-design and general overhaul to bring it inline with the current capabilities and hopefully go further.

So, the question many will ask, when? Hopefully I will start development of the app in June once WWDC is past and my new app Fitness Friend has been released. The app will be entirely re-written in Swift which is a change from its current Objective C code base. I also hope to expand its appeal to a wider Apple Watch audience with easier to understand features and more “smart” analytics of the users data. For the release, I will aim for a September time frame, though this could slip to the end of the year so no promises, sorry!

I will post here with updates so please do follow and keep up with the blog. I always welcome feedback, suggestions and feature requests so do send me an email if you’ve got something to tell!

That’s it, many thanks for reading.

Simon

26/05/18