The trouble with streaks and the Apple Watch repair process

Apple Watch Goes Pop

Recently the back of my Apple Watch popped off. I removed it from the magnetic charger and part of the watch decided it wanted to stay attached.

These things happen, but getting it repaired is a nightmare – losing the watch is losing these bloody rings:

Apple Watch Activity Rings

I’d been enjoying a 90 day or so streak, making sure I got all my activity rings filled. Fighting through a horrible cold and motivating me to get out on a few rainy Sundays.

Without the watch you can’t fill those rings, miss a day and you lose the streak. That’s when the repair process falls apart.

The wait for an appointment; seven days. The stretched Apple Store only lets you book a week in advance, to get an appointment you have to check first thing in the morning otherwise you’re greeted with a No Appointments Available message. That can push it to over a week before you are seen.

I was fortunate that my watch still worked if I was careful removing it from the charger. I could still wear it, avoiding any water contact until my appointment.

Once at the store the Genius said that no repairs take place on site and that replacement devices cannot be issued without the review of the repair centre. This means all repairs are sent away taking up to another seven days. Even with AppleCare+ you still have to wait for a roundtrip to Apple’s repair centre.

That could mean two weeks without your watch, without Apple’s most personal device and ruining well-earned streaks.

What could be done better?

The simplest way; offer in-store replacements where possible. Due to the Apple Watch being a mostly sealed device, the only repair that’s commonly performed is a screen replacement. In most other cases they have to offer a replacement.

My friend James Hartt suggests that the Activity app should focus on the quantitive achievements, like hitting 100 move goals, instead of consecutive streaks.

The workaround

Apple have a 14 day open box no-quibble return policy; you can buy a replacement and return it when you’re replacement is available. You’ll need to shell out temporarily and make sure you return it in the window.

Just make sure you’ve got a backup – unpairing your watch automatically triggers a full backup. You can repeat this when you get your replacement watch back.

Time to change

Fitness and health are the two standout features of the Apple Watch, it’s a shame to see the already frustrating process of having a broken device ruin the health behaviours that Apple promote.

How Apple fixed the iOS 9 broken Universal Links

iOS 9.3 had a big problem with processing universal inks which caused any links in apps to break. If you’re hit with the problem do a software update now.

Now iOS 9.3.1 is out it gives the shared web credentials daemon (swcd) enough memory to process large association files, and recover from previously large files that had previously pushed swcd over the limit.

Expect to see a future update to iOS limit the maximum size of an apple-app-site-association file to be something more sensible than unlimited, like 128 Kb.

Bots please: Slack needs a news feed

Slack News Feed Mockup

Slack, everybody’s favourite chat client, is a great way for communicating within a team and avoiding emails. At Ocasta we don’t just use it to discuss projects or what’s for lunch but to get timely updates on our server deploys, when apps have been built by Jenkins and when pull requests are created or merged. These useful automated messages are triggered by bots but treated as full slack citizens; triggering notifications and happily interrupting any ongoing discussions.

As a workaround we pop news related messages into muted channels or team based channels (such as Android pull requests going to the #android-dev channel), so you just dip in when you need them – but that removes them from the context of the conversation.

If Slack had a News Feed per channel it could let these timely updates feed into a central place without interrupting the discussion or requiring you to proactively peep. In the mockup above I’ve repurposed Slack’s What’s New section to show a feed similar to our bot generated content, whilst still letting those that love notifications (why?!) get alerted when news feeds into Slack. Keeping the main chat free of noisy bots but keeping the team up to date without filling up their inbox.

Integrations were key to Slack’s crazy growth, a News Feed could stop them from being what ruins it.

If you’re not using Slack, here’s an affiliate link that scores us both $100.