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Time for Apple to stop being a control freak? Why the Apple Watch is failing as a fashion accessory

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The Apple Watch is a cool little tech toy. Some use it to track their fitness goals and health, others use it to get their messages anytime and ask Siri stuff… And many, many use it as a fashion accessory.

Me, I’m a bit in between. I like watches, and I have many, including one smartwatch that even runs completely Android. (Not WearOS – but full Android 5.1.)

When it comes to the Apple Watch Series 7, I like to have internet access on my wrist, I ask Siri to always set reminders for me, and yes, maybe I especially like to customize this thing. Except it’s actually the least customizable smartwatch I own.

Sure, there are tons of watch bands you can get, even watch case cases if you look hard enough, but where I have a real problem with Apple and its smartwatch are the available watch faces we get. They are not many, not very pretty and in my opinion not designed at all for a square smartwatch…

The available Apple Watch watch faces are few, not great, and most importantly, you can’t create or download new ones

in typical Apple fashion, you can’t make your own watch faces to your heart’s content. You get a few presets, you can change some of their colors, along with the occasional font of the numbers… You can sometimes add a few complications, sometimes not… The main idea, of course, is that you get a different, usually more expensive Apple Watch to get some extra watch face options. The Apple Watch Nike Edition, for example, has a few unique watch faces, but if you look closely, they’re really just slightly modified iterations of the standard, with a Nike logo thrown in.

The more expensive Apple Watch Hermès Edition also has a unique watch face, which again appears to be a modified version of a standard watch face (namely Chronograph Pro). But at least it looks cool:

Here’s the thing, like I said, those standard watch faces you get in Apple’s Face Gallery are… okay, but don’t impress. I’ve tried them all, but neither is perfectly designed for the square Apple Watch Series 7 display. The new Contour watch face comes close, showing how small the smartwatch’s bezels are, but it’s still a little underwhelming for extended use:

Apple keeps adding watch faces that hardly anyone uses

We recently got another Pride watch face, which is definitely much cooler and more useful than the previous Pride watch faces we have. Those are essentially just rainbows under clock hands. Who can read the time perfectly without numbers, or at least dots to indicate where the hours are?

One of the most infamous Apple Watch faces is called Artist, which, not insulting the artist, but out of the many Apple Watch users I know, nobody likes it and nobody uses it. It’s one of those Apple things that are especially pretentious. Instead of a cool, stylish watch face, we’ve got this:

Who ends up in this, who exactly is it for?

We also have watch faces that you would think were designed in Paint by a 6 year old. X-Large, Unity and Numbers in particular. Now, those might have looked nice with a better font, but as it stands they’re so simple it’s pretty ridiculous to use them on an expensive smartwatch.

So you pay $400 or more for a smartwatch, you get it, and it’s beautifully built. You can buy a variety of third-party watch bands to make it your own – from sporty, breathable nylon ones to classy, ​​stylish metal Spigen straps. But then we get to what is actually shown on the screen – and the options are so disappointing and not customizable? Who cares, Apple? Who makes those choices? Who looked at it and said “Great, who deserve to be one of the few our users will get”?

So what kind of watch faces do I want?

I’m not going to circle around it, I just want dials that follow the contours of this square watch, rather than most of them being round. A round dial on a square watch doesn’t look good. Worse, the few watch faces that have the potential to be perfect suffer from other poor design choices in my opinion. For example, the California Apple Watch face is one that I would find almost perfect for this smartwatch:

The problem is that the hours are written in a non-large font size, way too big and bold. If I could shrink or remove them I’d probably be more than okay with this watch face, but I can’t. The contoured hands are not very aesthetically pleasing either, I prefer them to be a solid color.

Here’s another example of a near-good stock Apple Watch face – Gradient. That has the potential to be the perfect Apple Watch face to show how big the screen is, by filling it all with gradient colors, but… Apple decided we don’t need indicators for wherever the hours go. to be.

Can you tell exactly what hour and minute it is by looking at this? I know I can’t, not always. And I don’t want to guess, I want a good watch face that shows me the time clearly at a glance. So as it stands, it’s form over function:

My dream watch faces that the Apple Watch will probably never get

Now let’s get to the perfect watch faces I’d like to see, even though I know those are probably asking too much and will never make it to the Apple Watch – Casio G-Shock watch faces!

In my opinion, the Casio G-Shock series has some of the coolest watch faces ever made, and the only reason I didn’t buy a G-Shock as opposed to an Apple Watch is because I want the smart functionality of the latter. .

As we’ve discussed, I’m happy with the smart functionality, but the watch faces are pretty bad in my opinion, not nearly what I’d want on my wrist. This would be great to see in the Face Gallery:

Who knows, if enough of us ask, Apple and Casio might strike a deal, like Apple has done with Nike and Hermès? Probably not, but let’s reach for the stars anyway, kids.

By the way, I know if I don’t mention this, someone else will, so here it goes – you can download third-party Apple Watch apps of questionable quality and pay monthly for them to give you the illusion of a third-party watch faces, if they work at all (most not yet on the Series 7).

They either run an app on your Apple Watch, which isn’t really your watch face, it just pretends, or they use the default watch faces and add images over it. It’s clunky, expensive and clearly no good.

You don’t really have support for third-party watch faces on the Apple Watch, nor the ability to create your own unique one, unfortunately.

Apple is a control freak, and I don’t like that

Most of the competition, including WearOS smartwatches, down to even the cheapest fitness bands, supports thousands of wildly different user-created watch faces. And with a little knowledge you can of course make your own.

For example, I have a super cheap Xiaomi Mi Band with me. Despite its low price and limited functionality, it also supports several bands, and it’s also open to tons of cool watch faces, as opposed to just the standard one. If you spend some time looking through the many watch faces available, you’ll even find the aforementioned G-Shock (-ish) watch face options I want for the Apple Watch.

Apple just has a problem with the control. “Users can’t create or download third-party watch faces”, “users can’t sideload third-party apps on iPhone or iPad”… Well, you know what? Recently we reported about the American Choice and Innovation Act bill gets a revision.

What does it mean for us – the users – if the bill goes through? That Apple may finally need to allow users to sideload apps. The company, of course, still strongly opposes the idea, citing user privacy as a major reason.

But the way I see it, if the bill passes, Apple will be forced to take a first, much-needed step of treating its users as the free-willed people they are, who may want to exercise that free will.

Whether it’s sideloading apps on the iPhone that Apple doesn’t allow in the app store, or downloading third-party watch faces onto the Apple Watch – as I see it, it would be a huge win for many, many Apple users who want to be different.

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