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Apple VPs Kevin Lynch and Deidre Caldbeck recently sat down for an extensive interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger to discuss the upcoming watchOS 10 update and shed light on the changes users can expect. While addressing the possibility of third-party watch faces on Apple Watch, Lynch emphasized that the watch face serves as the device’s home screen, and Apple wants to ensure reliability and consistency in its functionality.
According to Lynch, Apple’s control over the available watch faces guarantees that users won’t encounter compatibility issues during major watchOS updates. Caldbeck added, “We’ll take care of that,” reassuring users that their chosen watch faces will continue to function seamlessly even with significant operating system changes.
Apple’s argument against allowing third-party watch faces stems from the company’s commitment to maintaining watch face functionality when implementing system-wide alterations. For instance, this year’s watchOS 10 redesign introduces a new swipe-up gesture to reveal a tray of user-selectable widgets. Apple contends that enabling third-party faces might compromise the seamless functioning of watch faces if they need to modify the operating system.
In defense of Apple’s position, the executives noted that the company already provides users with ample customization options for watch faces. Moreover, users can enhance their watch faces with complications from third-party apps, offering a level of flexibility that caters to individual preferences.
During the interview, Lynch and Caldbeck highlighted how the new widgets system in watchOS 10 represents a natural evolution of the Glances concept from the early days of watchOS. They emphasized that users desired quick access to information, and the widgets system accomplishes this without the complexities associated with the previous Glances system.
The executives stressed their attentiveness to user feedback, which greatly influenced the development of watchOS 10. Caldbeck explained that feedback received through emails and beta tests played a crucial role in repurposing the button functionality.
In watchOS 10, a press of the Digital Crown opens the Control Center instead of the multitasking app switcher. To access the app switcher, users simply double-click the crown—a change that Lynch and Caldbeck believe is more logical because a single press of the crown leads users directly to their apps. Furthermore, this alteration enables popular Control Center toggles to be accessible with a single button press from any part of the operating system.
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Lynch also discussed the rationale behind the introduction and subsequent removal of Force Touch on the original Apple Watch. He explained that the smaller screen size necessitated a way to incorporate occasional features without sacrificing valuable screen real estate. Thus, Force Touch was introduced as a means to access additional functions by pressing harder on the screen.
However, this approach created a new problem: users were unaware of where to find these hidden functions, and it required prior knowledge. Consequently, Apple sought alternative solutions, leveraging the larger screens of subsequent Apple Watch models to display information and additional features more intuitively.
As Apple prepares to roll out watchOS 10, the insights shared by Lynch and Caldbeck provide a glimpse into the design philosophy and user-centric approach that underpin Apple’s ongoing efforts to refine the Apple Watch experience. With enhanced customization options, a revamped widget system, and refined button functionality, users can anticipate a more intuitive and personalized experience with their Apple Watch.