Apple watchOS 7 and Custom Faces

9to5 Mac has a nice scoop on watchOS 7 that looks to include some excellent features (including sleep tracking). 

What stood out to me, however, was a suspected new feature that lets you share Apple Watch faces. If true, you’d be able to share your watch face setup, which would presumably include your choices of colors and complications. I feel like this misses the boat. What I’d like is for Apple to open up the creation of watch faces to third-party developers, or, better yet, users.

Apple’s watch faces are attractive but also limited. Moreover, some of the original faces, like Utility, actually got worse over time as Apple changed the watch but didn’t update the face. We need more choices. Opening it up to developers and users would give users more options. Depending on how much they open it up, I suspect we could get some great watch faces mixed in with a lot of ugly ones.

I think it is the possibility of ugly watch faces that is the problem. Apple doesn’t want customers walking around with poorly designed watch faces on their Apple Watches, but that could be solved by instituting guidelines and requiring Apple’s approval, just like the App Store. While I would prefer there be no such mechanism, if that’s what it would take, I’d live with it. Once you introduce the ability to sell watch faces, I’m sure there will be plenty of good ones. 

The bottom line is that Apple, after numerous years, is not getting the job done of making enough diverse and useful watch faces, and I suspect watchOS 7 will be more of the same. Rather than sharing a face I’m not particularly excited about, I’d prefer to roll my own.

In case you are wondering, I bounce between several watch faces, but my current one is a simplified version of the Explorer face with the date, activity ring, and next appointment complication.

Sparky's Apple Watch Face 2020-03-10.png