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watchOS on the Apple Watch Series 7 is optimized for its larger display. Now, Apple executives Alan Dye and Stan Ng have explained some of the rationale behind watchOS's tweaks for the Series 7 in an interview with CNET.

apple-watch-series-7-green.jpg

Alan Dye is Apple's vice president of interface design and Stan Ng is the company's vice president of product marketing. They explained that Apple chose to increase the display size of the Apple Watch with the Series 7 due to a need for easier-to-read text to improve accessibility:
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... [it will be] far more useful and accessible to a lot of users who just need the larger point size.

Ng said that the refractive border of the Apple Watch Series 7's front crystal drove the company's design decisions for watchOS and explained how the refractive edge works:
This refractive edge creates this very subtle wraparound effect. And it makes the screen appear to bend downward, right toward the watch housing. Really, it's an optical effect, it's due to the way the light from the OLED refracts at the edges of the front crystal. We redesigned that crystal to be more of a dome shape, which also contributed to the thicker crystal and the greater durability. So it was kind of a twofer for both.

The decision to create watch faces that emphasize the curvature of the display's edges apparently came after the development of the new front crystal. Dye said that "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."

The Apple Watch offers a full on-screen keyboard for the first time with the Series 7 that also works with QuickPath. According to Dye, Apple chose not to add distinct areas for each key to make the keyboard less cramped, but also to suggest to users that "precision isn't totally critical with your taps because we have that intelligence built-in."

Dye said that despite the extra screen space, Apple still views the Apple Watch as a device intended to be used briefly, just like the original 2015 model:
I think a lot of those core foundational values around how we manage to watch the news remain the same. 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 added that he sees the larger screen of the Apple Watch Series 7 mainly as a tool to "consume that information faster and easier."
It 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. The power of Apple Watch is in those hundreds of glances a day that might give you information that you need right at that moment.

Dye suggested that Apple still sees watchOS as distinct from iOS and iPadOS, with the fundamental concept of the Apple Watch working well. Looking to the future, he said that "we're always thinking about the future, we're always looking at and challenging the language we have."
The initial design we spent a great deal of time on. I think we got a lot of things right, especially as a wearable device that was really built for comfort on the wrist. We're pretty pleased with where it's at from the design perspective.

CNET asked Dye and Ng why Apple has chosen not to create a watch face store on the Apple Watch, despite partnerships with companies like Nike and Hermés. Dye suggested that Apple has no immediate plans for a watch face store:
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. 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.

See the full interview for more information about the design decisions around the Apple Watch Series 7's larger display.

Article Link: Apple Executives Discuss Optimizations for Larger Apple Watch Series 7 Display, Lack of Third-Party Watch Faces
 
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Reactions: SurferPup
Apple dodged the real reason we want third party watch faces... We want design elements Apple does not provide or allow currently.

Did they dodge it? Seemed like they said very directly that they want to control what the watch face looks like to make sure it is distinctly an Apple Watch. They don't see that changing anytime soon. Whether the specific examples they gave are exhaustive or not could be debated I guess.
 

Mimiron

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2017
273
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The Apple watch is so boring if they at least offered us more watch faces, but with each passing year it's "same same but different".
 
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4jasontv

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2011
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I am still on an Apple Watch 4, so keep that in mind, but the Apple Watch has a notable impact on my iPhones battery life. Days I forget to put on my watch I am nearing 10% at the end of the day, but with it, I am typically between 40 and 50% left on my phone.

Edit: for context, my day typically starts at 5-6 AM and ends at 1-2 AM.
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terrapinjess

macrumors member
Sep 11, 2012
85
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Am I the only one who wants to completely turn off the watch hands? Specifically, on the Infograph face, the watch hands offer no value whatsoever to me, and in fact, cover the digital time display or other complications completely for an amount of time per day.
The Infograph face is the most useful to me because it offers the most amount of complications but in no shape way or form do those hands actually add any value to the face (for me.)
Example (note how the hands completely cover the Messages and will all other central complications, including digital time.)
I wish we had an option to turn the watch hands OFF, at least on certain faces.
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_Spinn_

macrumors 65816
Nov 6, 2020
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Wisconsin
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. 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.
I still feel like Apple could provide a Watch Face Kit to developers that has these consistent design elements in it and devs could then mix and match them from there to make new watch faces.
 

jaster2

macrumors member
Jun 21, 2010
57
49
I like my series 3 OK but have never found a watch face I love. The complications layout they offer to customize faces is so limited. Some of the faces offered via 3rd parties on my original Pebble were better in terms of size and layout compared to what Apple offers. I've never understood how that could be.
 
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nwcs

macrumors 68020
Sep 21, 2009
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Did they dodge it? Seemed like they said very directly that they want to control what the watch face looks like to make sure it is distinctly an Apple Watch. They don't see that changing anytime soon. Whether the specific examples they gave are exhaustive or not could be debated I guess.
To me it's a dodge. They explained they wanted the control but didn't explain why they wouldn't allow other designers to provide different options.
 

falkon-engine

macrumors 6502
Apr 30, 2010
365
1,048
Apple just believes in being locked down. It’s just their dna. There is no reason why there isn’t a store for watch faces. It would certainly be very popular and would give users choice.
 

jonnysods

macrumors 604
Sep 20, 2006
7,296
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There & Back Again
Apple is a premium brand, and I genuinely feel they just don’t want people seeing an Apple Watch with a face that looks like it was created by a colourblind kindergarten kid with a head-wand
I know. And imagine the anger as people who aren’t great as using software call or rush into Apple stores to get support for user issues.

I barely use watch faces but I enjoy seeing what creative people come up with.
 

unclemax

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2015
253
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Apple dodged the real reason we want third party watch faces... We want design elements Apple does not provide or allow currently.
They didn't dodge it, they just cannot say it directly so they have to be circumspect 😆 - they don't allow the users to tweak face designs like hand sizes and shapes, color schemes, to not make the watch look ugly (to other potential buyers).
 
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