During WWDC 2023, Apple provided a sneak peek of watchOS 10, the forthcoming operating system for the Apple Watch. This update brings forth exciting enhancements such as a redesigned Home Screen, fresh interactions for the Apple Watch, improved workout capabilities, and two new watch faces. However, despite these advancements, one notable feature is still absent from the Apple Watch ecosystem: the ability to add third-party watch faces.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger (via 9to5Mac), Apple VPs Kevin Lynch and Deidre Caldbeck addressed the question of whether third-party watch faces would be introduced to the Apple Watch. Lynch emphasized the importance of Apple ensuring the reliability and consistency of all features. Caldbeck further reassured users that they need not be concerned about watch faces functioning properly after major watchOS updates.
To support their stance that introducing third-party watch faces could potentially disrupt the Apple Watch experience, the executives elaborated on the new interactions offered in watchOS 10. For instance, pressing the Side Button now opens the Control Center, and swiping up from below the screen unveils smart stacks featuring a variety of new widgets.
According to the Tages-Anzeiger article, the reimagining of the button functionality in watchOS 10 is a direct result of user feedback. Caldbeck explains that the introduction of mini widgets at the bottom of each watch face was also driven by user demand for easily accessible and quick access to information. This innovation aims to fulfill that need and has received a positive response from Apple. Caldbeck expresses optimism about the user experience improvements this change will bring.
Lynch further elaborates on the evolution of Glances, an original feature introduced in the first watchOS. With the larger screen size of the Apple Watch, Glances can now truly shine. Lynch recalls that initially, Glances were created as a way to incorporate occasional features without occupying valuable screen space. However, this approach presented a new challenge: users were not aware of how to access additional functions and needed to have precise knowledge of the interaction. To address this, Apple explored alternatives, and the expanded screen of real estate in watchOS 10 allows for more diverse ways to display information and additional features.
Apple emphasizes its commitment to ensuring reliable functionality when revamping button layouts and interactivity. Additionally, the executives highlight the flexibility already provided to users through complications from third-party apps, showcasing Apple’s dedication to offering customization options.