Personalizing your smartwatch is a huge deal, and so far I don’t feel I’ve been able to make the Apple Watch look exactly how I want it to.
You can decide on the size, color, strap, material, the apps to download and more, but you’ve not been able to properly choose your own watch face.
Originally the Apple Watch launched with 11 faces to choose from, and Apple claimed there were over two million combinations of watch face at that stage.
That number is so big as you can change the colors of the face or add on different complications from a variety of different apps that allow you to interact with different features.
There are more options on the Apple Watch now including the relatively recent Toy Story, Siri and Kalediscope faces, but these are still only customizable in terms of color or adding extra elements. I want more designs.
Exactly what I want
Inside the source code for the developer preview of watchOS 4.3.1 that launched in April, 9To5Mac spotted the words, “3rd part face config bundle generation”.
Speculation then turned to the fact that may mean the introduction of third-party watch faces for the first time on the Apple Watch. That’s now heavily rumored to be a feature coming in the watchOS 5 update that’s expected to be announced at WWDC 2018 on Monday.
The code may be simply referring to the third-party complications we’ve already seen Apple include on the watch, so we have to take this rumor with a big pinch of salt.
I got excited about the news all over again this week when we saw the new Pride watch face from Apple leak, which may be one of the third-party choices on offer.
It may also be this is a watch face designed by Apple – we don’t know yet – but it made my mind start racing on what will be possible by developers and companies being able to take over the home screen on my watch.
If third-party faces are in the works, I’m excited to finally have more styles than the 20 or so that are currently on offer.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like quite a lot of the watch faces Apple has on offer. The Photos watch face is an interesting idea to randomize your gallery while the themed Mickey Mouse and Toy Story options are great if you have kids.
I particularly like the functional simplicity in the watch face titled Modular, but I want to see more from Apple. What you can customize on the Modular face is still limited to the complications and the colors.
I want to have more choice on the platform, and that’s not something Apple is going to be able to achieve in-house.
Complications from third-party apps are already a thing in watchOS, but they essentially work like shortcuts to your favorite apps rather than integrating the features you find useful into the watch face itself.
For example, a watch face designed by Strava would allow me to have all of my fitness stats waiting right away on my watch face.
Some are worried allowing third-parties access to the platform will dilute the quality of Apple Watch faces, but I don’t agree.
Sure, a lot of the options available from third party sources aren’t going to work as well, look as beautiful or run as slickly as the Apple designed watch faces – but that’s not going to take that core line up away.
Just because Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull happened doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s the same principle here.
Having a separate variety of watch faces designed by companies and even developers sat at home experimenting is only going to bring more options to my wrist, and that’s exciting. Plus if you don’t like the third-party options, these will sit alongside the high-end Apple ones.
More and more apps are dropping Apple Watch as we’ve seen Slack, Instagram and eBay stop supporting the platform in the last six months… perhaps giving those third parties access to a new area of the wearable may generate interest and re-inspire companies to embrace and keep working on the platform.
I can’t see any negatives to Apple deciding to open up its closed watch face gates around the Apple Watch, and I for one can’t wait to properly personalize my watch if it comes in watchOS 5. Now just to wait for WWDC to see if it actually happens
#applewatch #wwdc #watchOS5