No plans for third-party Apple Watch face store, Apple executives say

Posted:
in Apple Watch
A pair of Apple executives recently detailed some of the optimizations to watchOS made specifically to suit the Apple Watch Series 7, as well as some of the decisions that they have made for third-parties.

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider
Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider


Apple executives Alan Dye, vice president of interface, and Stan Ng, Vice President of product marketing, recently sat down with CNET to explain some of the small tweaks that Apple made to its watchOS platform for the Apple Watch Series 7's larger display.

For example, one of the main reasons why Apple bumped up the screen size on the new wearable was to make text easier to read from an accessibility standpoint.

"We had the opportunity to allow users to increase the point size [for text] even larger than we've allowed for in the past. That was very much motivated by the new display," Dye said, adding that the larger size will be "far more useful and accessible to a lot of users who just need the larger point size."

Ng also explained how the slightly curved edges on the new Apple Watch Series 7 creates a subtle wraparound effect. Through slightly redesigned crystal, Apple has able to create more of a dome shape on the new model, which actually also contributed to increased durability and thicker screen crystal.

From there, Apple's team decided to move onto designing new watch faces and tweaking watchOS to accommodate and take advantage of the new display.

"Once we started to play with this new crystal and the display, that's where all those subtle design decisions were made to push those ticks out to the very edge of the display to highlight some of these effects," Dye said.

On the new on-screen keyboard, Dye noted that Apple didn't aim for precision with tapping "because we have that intelligence built-in" to assist with writing out messages.

Despite the additional screen space, the Apple executives said the company still views the Apple Watch as a device to be used briefly -- a companion to an iPhone.

"I think a lot of those core foundational values around how we manage to watch the news remain the same," Dye said. "Despite the fact that we are able to allow for more content on the display, we still see it as a glanceable, smaller, shorter-interaction type of a product versus something like a phone or certainly an iPad."

Ng said that the Apple isn't "isn't about the 30 minutes you're spending looking at your phone and social media, or the hour on your Mac working on a document." Instead, it's about the hundreds of quick glances that might provide relevant information in a particular moment.

The two Apple executives also explained why the company hasn't created a third-party store for watch faces -- and why it doesn't have any plans to do so in the future.

"As critical as the hardware is at playing the role distinguishing Apple Watch as Apple Watch, we think the watch faces play a pretty big role there as well, which is why we've been so careful over the years, despite the fact that there's wide variety, to have a lot of consistent design elements," Dye said.
"If you look closely, the watch hands are always drawn exactly the same way, despite the fact that they show up in different colors. We think we struck a really good balance. The watch faces themselves, they provide a canvas for third parties for sure, and a template that they can [use to] create multiple complications and turn a watch face into their watch face, and that becomes the interface in some ways for their application."
The full interview with CNET has some more information about the Apple Watch Series 7 and the design decisions behind it.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    Just incredible how many keyboards were enabled by that gorgeous extra screen space
  • Reply 2 of 12
    If Apple created a store for third-party watch faces how long would it be before they were taken to court to force Apple into allowing third-party app stores on Apple Watch?

    I’m surprised they haven’t been sued already. Doesn’t Apple have a monopoly on Apple Watch faces?!

    /s
    applguyDnykjpRfC6fnBsmejsricGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 3 of 12
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,633member
    What for? So entitled morons can say Apple isn’t allowed to own their own store and it should be owned by everyone else?
    DnykjpRfC6fnBsMacPro
  • Reply 4 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    Beats said:
    What for? So entitled morons can say Apple isn’t allowed to own their own store and it should be owned by everyone else?
    Didn’t you get the memo? If Apple wants to make a profit it’s evil and greedy.
    BeatsDnykjpRfC6fnBs
  • Reply 5 of 12
    mubailimubaili Posts: 445member
    I am wondering how many people in Apple working on the Watch Face, could it be a situation like Microsoft at one point just have just one person works on IE6? Let creative thirdparty customize the Apple Watch face but with a strong guideline. I am sure that would propel Apple Watch sales too.
    caladanian
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Does Rolex, Guess and other physical watches allow users to design their faces?  I can see where Apple is coming from.  It’s a brand thing.  They probably don’t want random, budget looking watch faces on their products.  
    JapheyDnykjpRfC6fnBsMacPro
  • Reply 7 of 12
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 138member
    Now how about giving us some more keyboards, not just an English one? I bought the series 7 to be able to communicate better, but I mostly communicate in Spanish or German… 
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Having seen some of the abominations of watch faces in the Garmin Connect store, I kinda can’t say I blame Apple…. Granted, there are a few nice ones, but in general - 🤮
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Ask Apple Watch developers if they would create third party watch faces if they were able to. Ask Apple Watch owners if they would consider trying third party watch faces if they could. This is why Apple is harming itself as much as anyone: Not allowing users to run any software they want on the products they own make those products a lot less desirable.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    citpekscitpeks Posts: 178member
    Does Rolex, Guess and other physical watches allow users to design their faces?  I can see where Apple is coming from.  It’s a brand thing.  They probably don’t want random, budget looking watch faces on their products.  

    There is a lot of copycatting in watch and watch face designs, but it's probably not coincidence that the "inspirations" for the ones that are mimicked most come from the iconic brands.  Apple probably thinks of themselves in the latter group, and wants to preserve its position, and doesn't want substandard 3rd party designs potentially coloring the product.

    Something that should also be considered is that face designs can be copyrighted, and Apple doesn't want to open any cans of worms that it doesn't have to.  Apple had to pony up for a $21M license to the Swiss railway authority after it was sued for putting something that too closely resembled the former's clock face in iOS.  Sure, the copyright owner will probably go after the face seller first, but you can also bet that Apple will also be named as well, and that's not something it wants to deal with, if it can avoid it.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,679member
    So why no 3rd party watch faces?
    My guess is:  The Apple Watch is already pushing limited hardware performance to the limit.   Watch Faces essentially run all the time -- which means that the limited hardware may bog down if the watch face does not perform efficiently.

    The analogy might be what led to the 2K IT debacle:   Leading up to the year 2000 computer storage was very limited and very expensive:  A disk drive might be the size of a washing machine and have less storage than an Apple Watch -- yet be still need to store the critical data of a Fortune 100 corporation.

    So, programmers were told to only store and use 2 digits for the year -- which over thousands and millions of records (each with multiple dates) would save a LOT of bytes.  And, when comparing dates, the programmer simply subtracted two years:  99 - 97 = 2.   That worked until the turn of the century when comparing 2 digit dates gave you:   01 - 99 = -98.   That didn't work so well.

    I suspect Apple is using analogous techniques to boost efficiency.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,062member
    There may be performance considerations that many third-party devs might get wrong, to the detriment of Watch performance.

    But I think the bigger reason is style, and having to add screening of watch faces that might violate trademarks of other watches.

    Apple got stung using a watch face in an older Mac OS X version that came far too close to the Swiss Railway clock face (which was beautifully elegant in it simplicity). There is a version available at the iOS App Store that's really nice. 

    I haven't seen Garmin third-party faces, but I do remember Pebble third-party faces and the over whelming majority of them were ghastly.

    So thumbs up for Apple not allowing them. Thumbs down for not making more, elegant watch faces that we could buy or God forbid, get for free. Of course I'm referring to analog watch faces. A digital flip-face would be cool though.

    AI said:
    Ng said that the Apple isn't "isn't about the 30 minutes you're spending looking at your phone and social media, or the hour on your Mac working on a document." Instead, it's about the hundreds of quick glances that might provide relevant information in a particular moment.

    This is exactly why Apple should also produce a round Watch and expand both the style of the Watch and analog Watch faces. No one is going to be reading the Gettysburg Address or War and Peace on a Watch.

    Just as you might own a Lincoln Town Car and a Ford Lightning and a Mazda Miata, you could own more than one shape of Apple Watch. A round Watch with wrap around time and other data displayed in the center would sell. But as Garmin and Samsung already make a round Watch, Apple probably won't 'go there' simply because they don't want their product to be 'lost' and not be intently recognizable.

    Apple doesn't include a calculator or weather app on the iPad, so it's no surprise we'll probably never see a round [smart] Apple Watch. A small irony that they do allow for third-party solutions, though. But then they don't really affect the look of the iPad.

Sign In or Register to comment.