Previous “Apple” posts

Please Allow Me to Stop Crushing It

There’s a limit on how much crushing is reasonable in one day.

Recently, I had an exceedingly active morning. It started with an early tennis match, which was followed by a very long run. Shortly before noon that same day, my Apple Watch hit me with this coaching message:

Apple Watch message that says ‘Off to a great start. Keep crushing it, Paul. Your Move and Exercise rings are way ahead for this time of day.’

The phrase “Off to a great start” carries with an implication that one should keep doing the same thing. For my part, however, I was done with physical exertion for the day. Here were my daily stats at that exact time:

Apple Watch showing 1806 calories burned and 170 minutes of exercise

So hey, you can go straight to hell, Watch. I will not “keep crushing it”. I will, in fact, eat a bag of potato chips and take a nap. How about “You’ve crushed it! Take a well-earned rest.”? It’s just never enough for this dumb watch.

Listen, I know I could turn this stuff off (Watch app > Activity > “Daily Coaching”), but there are two good reasons to keep it on. Number one, I do want to get reminders if I might miss my daily goals. Even more importantly, number two, it’s very nice to have a safe outlet for all of my righteous anger.

An Offer I Can Refuse

Owners of 2023 model year cars also don’t want a new car right now.

For several years, I’ve taken part in Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program which e enables me to move to a new iPhone once a year, if I wish. I last bought a new phone in September of 2022. This morning, I received an email with the subject line “You’re eligible to upgrade to a new iPhone today”.

An email stating, in part, “iPhone Upgrade Program - Take your iPhone experience to the next level. - As part of the iPhone Upgrade Program, you’re now eligible to upgrade to a new iPhone.”

Now firstaball, Apple knows that I already have an iPhone 14 Pro. Every month, I’m paying them for it. They’re pitching me on the features I already possess, so I’m not exactly sure how they propose that I “take my experience to the next level” by using the exact same phone. One might make a very poor argument that they’re pitching me on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, with its mammoth screen, but come on. That’s just stupid.

Perhaps this message was sent to the wrong list, and it was intended for folks with older phones. However, it’s mid-August, which means that Apple is almost certain to be shipping new iPhone models in the next few weeks. For over a decade, the company has had a very reliable schedule of fall iPhone releases. Current rumors indicate we’ll see new hardware announced by September 13, and that they’ll be switching from a Lightning port to a USB-C port. It’s an inopportune time to buy a new iPhone, period, let alone to buy the exact one I already have.

Still, my iPhone does have a scratch or two. I could have a new one. Tempting!

Knock It Off

Please, Can you Not?

Way back in 2011, I used the term “autocorrupt” to describe what the iPhone keyboard sometimes did in its attempts to fix mistyping. At the time, typing on a smartphone was still rather novel, and the built-in autocorrect technology was really fairly solid.

In the years since, it frankly feels like the tech has gotten worse. That may not be the reality, but it certainly hasn’t improved to the level we might expect after a full decade of advancements. For instance, on my iPhone, iOS autocorrupt has been turning “can” into “Can” mid-sentence for the past several months. I’ll go back and retype it, only to have it happen again. It’s maddening.

Recently, it’s gotten even worse. The phone has also started sometimes converting “not” to “Not” as well. You can see both of these issues below, in this screen recording of me typing:

You Can [sic] Not [sic] believe how vexing this is! I would dearly love to hear a reasonable explanation for this nonsense, but I am very skeptical one exists.

Thankfully, there may be at least some room for optimism. The next update to iOS is due out this fall, and it will purportedly improve autocorrection substantially, in part by customizing it to your specific typing styles. Fingers crossed.

Cause The Garage Door

Shoddy Identification; Really Irksome

Though Siri may have eventually learned the word “gazpacho”, it’s consistently finding new ways to vex me. Recently, I simply wanted to close my garage door from my Apple Watch, something I do frequently without issue:

An Apple Watch Screen reading: “Cause the Garage Door” and “Your garage doors can’t do that.”

For the record, I was not talking with my mouth full.

Timers vs. Alarms

That is very much not what I want.

Today in stupid Siri bugs, let’s have a look at failed timers. When last I wrote about timers, it was to grouse that the iPhone is incapable of running two timers at once. The Apple Watch, however, is a precision timekeeping device. It’s more capable, and has mastered the science of running two (or more) timers at once. Wow!

Unfortunately, if Siri fails to hear the full command for a timer, things go rather wrong. Recently, I wanted to set a timer for three minutes. I said exactly that to my Apple Watch: “Set a timer for three minutes”. However, it seems Siri missed the last word. This was the result:

A two part message. Part 1: “Set a timer for
three”; Part 2: “Timers can't be set for a time of day, so I set your alarm for 3 AM.”

This is a truly terrible automatic behavior. Because it didn’t hear my full command, the system created an undesired alarm and defaulted it to on. If I’d failed to notice this error, I would both not have been alerted when three minutes had passed, and been woken up rudely in the middle of the night. That’s not great.

Rather than assuming I don’t understand the difference between timers and alarms, it would clearly be better for Siri to ask a clarifying question.

A Firmware Update Is Available for Your Power Cable 

Is it really worth turning charging cables into computers?

Parts of the future are very dumb.

One Timer Ought to Be Enough for Anybody

Really, why would anyone ever want two timers?

Maybe some day, in the distant future, humanity will harness the advanced technology necessary to run two timers at the same time.

A request for Siri to set a time for five minutes, to which it replaces “There's already a 1 hour timer. Replace it?”

I hope I’m alive to see it.

Update (February 9, 2023): As reader Miraz J. notes, belying the “dumbwatch” label I’ve given it, the Apple Watch is capable of running two (or more!) timers at once. This feature was actually added in 2021’s WatchOS 8 release, which makes it even more comical that the vastly more powerful iPhone can’t do it in 2023.

You Have to Wait a Bit

It's rather amusing for a watch to have such bad timing.

Earlier today, I went for a five mile run. I’m doing a goofy winter challenge, where I have to run outside every day in January, so this was the thirteenth day in a row I did this. That run finished up at 9:17 AM. One single, solitary minute later, I got this notification on my Apple Watch:

A message reading “7-Workout Week: Get in a workout today and it will be a 7-Workout Week. Don't let up Paul!”

Apple’s week runs Monday to Sunday, meaning I have three full days to get in a single workout and thus hit their desired “7-Workout Week”. Obviously, my daily run alone will get me to the prescribed number. Further, simple math will tell you that in addition to my runs, I’ve already done a couple other workouts this week. My average number of workouts per day this week is 1.5. Given all that, this encouragement seems needless by all accounts.

But even if some encouragement were warranted, why offer it when I have literally just completed a workout? Work on your timing, Watch. Also, your writing. I already “got in a workout” today. Pester me tomorrow, or better yet, not at all.

Previously in asinine Apple Watch encouragement: Take a Day Off, Coach

Despite Claims to the Contrary, Siri Is Not Actually Good at Sports

In related news, Ohio Street defeated Penn Street.

The latest matchup in the storied college football rivalry between the Wolverines of Michigan and the Michigan State Spartans took place last Saturday. A bad time was had by all who were rooting for the maize and blue, as Michigan choked away a 16-point second half lead, all while Jim Harbaugh looked consistently bumfuzzled.

More relevant to this site, asking Siri about the game produced some spectacularly awful results. I invite someone, anyone, to explain this collection of nonsense.

First, I asked Siri for the Michigan score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan score?

Siri: Michigan lost a close one to Michigan Street today. The final score was 37-33.

[Audio recording]

Agog, I then asked it for the Michigan State score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan State score?

Siri: Michigan Street barely prevailed over Michigan by a score of 37-33 today.

[Audio recording]

I was now stifling laughter, but I managed to ask Siri to give me the “Michigan Street” score:

Me: Hey Siri, what was the Michigan Street score?

Siri: Michigan just barely lost to to Michigan State today. The final score was 37-33.

[Audio recording]

That almost seems like the right answer, but given the phrasing, I suspect it’s actually giving me the Michigan score. That’s subtly different, and not quite right.

Of course, the larger issue is the repeated referencing of “Michigan Street”. Those with even modicum of familiarity with college sports know that when a school has “State” in its name, it’s often shortened to “St.”. Siri is obviously misinterpreting that “St.” as “Street”. That’s just flat out wrong. Apparently, it’s also been happening for years:

This tweet is nearly five years old.

This mistake is hilarious, but at least it makes a stupid kind of sense. The part I find really inexplicable is the utter lack of consistency. Asking Siri about “Michigan State” gave results for “Michigan Street”, while asking it about “Michigan Street” returned a correct-ish response about “Michigan State”. Even allowing for the misinterpretation of “St.” as “Street”, how on earth does that happen?


At a certain point, the Apple Watch should perhaps be smart enough to throw in the towel.

As you may be aware, I love my dumb digital badges, including those earned by completing the Apple Watch’s monthly fitness challenges. Those goals are individually tailored to you, based on recent activity. This can often be a source of frustration, as no matter what you’ve done recently, the Watch always demands more. So it was that after a summer of extensive running, my September monthly challenge called for me to burn 30,000 active calories in total.

1,000 calories every single day for a month is a lot, but it might have been feasible if not for an injury I suffered at the end of August. That injury led me to take time off from running, which in turn drastically reduced my caloric burn. As a result, I knew from the outset that I wouldn’t be achieving this particular goal. However, it wasn’t until the end of the month that I saw just how short I’d fall.

On Tuesday, September 28, the Fitness app on my phone showed the following:

4,655 active calories in a single day is absurd, let alone doing it three days in a row. Of course, I realized that things would only get more ridiculous as October neared, because my calories burned would be ever farther off the necessary pace. Sure enough, just as the month was ending, the Fitness app was still urging me on thusly:

This screenshot was taken at 10:50 PM on September 30

At that point last night, with 70 minutes remaining in September, I needed to burn 185 calories per minute. But sure, try. What’s the harm in trying? Come on, don’t be lazy. Just try.