Jason Snell: ‘Why Are Apple Watch Faces Such a Mess?’

Jason Snell, writing at Macworld:

It takes time to get a new operating system up and running. With watchOS 5, it feels like Apple has finally addressed most of the rough edges. Apps are more powerful; devices are more capable of acting on their own without the aid of an iPhone. I can understand why other features trumped the prioritization of watch faces, but it’s time. Apple needs to really revisit how it approaches watch faces.

Since the day the Apple Watch was announced, developers have clamored for the opportunity to design custom watch faces. That may never happen — there are plenty of reasons for Apple to consider the face designs sacred and something the company must control itself. But if Apple insists on having a monopoly on face design, it’s incumbent on the company to be a better steward of those faces.

I’ve been splitting my Apple Watch time the last week or so between my Series 4 review unit and my personal Series 3, upgraded to WatchOS 5. I’m more convinced than ever that what I wrote in my Series 4 review is true: the new Series 4 faces only look exactly right on the Series 4 watch, and the old watch faces only look exactly right on the older watches. And nothing brings these issues to light better than the complication situation.

I won’t say any of the faces look bad on any of the watches. Just that they don’t look exactly right — the difference between an expertly tailored jacket and one that comes off the rack. When it comes to watch faces, “good” isn’t good enough. Every element on a watch face ought to be perfect.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018