Since the launch of Apple Watch Series 4 and watchOS 5, the Apple Watch community has shifted its focus towards debating whether or not Apple should allow third-party watch faces.
Do you think it’s time for Apple to let developers create custom Apple Watch faces?
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With the Apple Watch Series 4 and watchOS 5, Apple unveiled a handful of new watch faces for users, including the information-dense Infograph faces, as well as more visually appealing options such as the fire and water designs. Despite the new and more versatile designs, however, Apple Watch face creation remains a locked ecosystem, meaning third-parties can’t create their own designs.
In response to growing calls for third-party watch face support, developer Steve Troughton-Smith created an Xcode project that uses Apple’s SpriteKit framework to allow creation of custom Apple Watch faces. Using Troughton-Smith’s tool, other developers such as David Smith have been showing off custom Apple Watch faces.
Personally, I think it’s absolutely time for third-party watch faces on Apple Watch. Opening up the process to additional developers and designers will undoubtedly yield some very useful and visually pleasing faces. I do, however, think Apple would need to employ a rather stringent approval process for third-party watch faces.
For instance, many classic watch face designs are trademarked by their original creator, and Apple would have to walk a fine line ensuring that third-party creations for Apple Watch does not infringe on any of those designs.
We’ve embedded a few of the SpriteKit creations below, and as you can see, it’s more than clear developers are capable of designing watch faces that rival even Apple’s first-party designs.
So what do you think? Should Apple finally allow developers and designers to create third-party watch faces for Apple Watch? Take the poll below and elaborate on your opinion down in the comments!
As so many people were asking, I put my sample Apple Watch 'face' project on GitHub. If you want to use this as a jumping off point to prototype your own Watch faces, go nuts! https://t.co/sQu4UQ9WEy pic.twitter.com/OeogH3bFll
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) October 10, 2018
Best part about making custom faces…being able to fix the things that have driven you crazy forever.
A date that is always readable! pic.twitter.com/BnlEeoraK8
— David Smith (@_DavidSmith) October 17, 2018
— Wu Tian (@Naituw) October 13, 2018
A slightly different complication style for the inner side of a watch face & San Francisco’s alternative number glyphs.
Regular complications could still show up at the edges of the watch face: pic.twitter.com/KTjZBOcOAj
— Vidit Bhargava (@viditb) October 13, 2018
One of the joys of having a system with 69,120 permutations is hitting the 'random' button a few times and seeing what it spits out. Any of these do it for you? https://t.co/sQu4UQ9WEy pic.twitter.com/Sj8dVOKsd6
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) October 14, 2018
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) October 16, 2018
— Joseph Shenton (@notjosephs) October 15, 2018