Apple Watch: Hello New Faces, Goodbye Old Faces

With the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple has introduced two new information-rich faces that take advantage of the new device’s larger display. The Infograph and Infograph Modular faces offer lots of complications, in an attractive multi-color layout.

As Jason Snell wrote recently on Macworld, Apple Watch faces are a mess. None of the older faces have been updated for watchOS 5 and the new watches, and the new faces are missing some key complications, as I wrote last week. It really surprises me that you can’t add the Phone, Messages, or Home complications to the new faces. And I’m even more surprised that the old faces have been completely ignored.

One point that Jason makes, which I’ve been thinking about last year, is that the Explorer face is still the only one that shows your cellular connection, with a complication that shows from one to four dots.

Why not build that feature as a complication? Why not let other faces display that information? A year later, the Explorer face remains unchanged, and remains the only place you can view connection status on a watch face.

It seems important to have the possibility to see your signal strength if you have a cellular Apple Watch, and this omission is puzzling.

I’ve settled on the following three faces on my watch for now: two “analog” Infograph faces, and one Infograph Modular.

Face1 Face2 Face3

I would really like to use the Home complication on at least one of these faces, and I’m surprised that it’s not available. I’m also surprised by some of the complications that are offered, which are nothing more than eye candy. Here’s the Infograph Modular face with the Earth, Moon, and Solar complications at the bottom.

Face4

I think these are available simply as filler, since many people want to use all the complications inside the dial of the Infograph face. I don’t see how the Earth complication is very useful; I do understand that a moon phase complication is something found on many watches, but in a more stylized manner; and the Solar System complication is probably only useful for people on the International Space Station, and, perhaps, Elon Musk.

I’m also surprised that many popular third-party apps have not been updated for these new complications. For example, I use the Dark Sky app for weather, and it’s complication hasn’t been updated, even though the app itself has been updated since the release of watchOS 5. I don’t know what’s taking developers so long.

(I’m sure some of you will ask about some of the complications above, which are not in watchOS. The orange one on each of the faces is the Pedometer app, which is a step counter; and the one with the date on the face on the right above is Fantastical, the calendar app I use on all my devices.)

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