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Humanizing Tech

"Faces Are The New Apps for Watches & Wearables" in Humanizing Technology

These are my choices of faces for a Watch that cost over $1000 including bands and Apple Care? Leaves me wanting.

I own an Apple Watch. It’s the 42 mm Stainless Steel case, middle-priced version. I’ve worn it almost every day for a year and track as much of my health as I can with Gyroscope. I own three bands:

  • Black rubber for working out
  • Stainless steel for a dressier occassion
  • Marine blue leather for in-between
42mm Stainless Steel Marine Blue Classic Buckle Apple Watch

Doesn’t that watch look beautiful? The industrial design is incredible. The ability to easily change out bands is smooth. And the quality of the materials is super premium. But look at that black face? Doesn’t that look out of place? Especially compared to normal mechanical or quartz watches that humans have been wearing for 150 years?

But while I have thousands of potential combinations using Apple’s interactive tool, the ugliest part of the watch is that black screen. And when it’s on, I only have the choice between about 8 different faces. I can’t customize to my heart’s content. And Apple hasn’t opened it up to developers or designers to make something better. Only Hermes gets a custom face.

Hopefully this changes at next week’s WWDC because I do have a willingness to pay for beautiful faces, but not for apps. The apps aren’t that useful and I’m definitely not willing to pay. Only the data that comes from the watch (heart rate, steps counter, standing counter, seeing some messages come through).

I would also love an always-on face so it isn’t as ugly as the black face. What about a white background or something better to match my band.

Compare this to the faces offered by the many exquisite brands on Hodinkee, for example A. Lange & Söhne:

Look at the difference. One looks equisite and expensive. The other looks like a cheap watch you’d get from Wal-Mart. Again, I hope this gets addressed for the Apple Watch 2 and watchOS3 at next week’s WWDC.

As another example, in one of my old startups, Evolyte, we made some of the first apps in the app store. One was Weather Notifier that sent you notifications using Twilio every morning so you didn’t have to check the weather. The other was Design O’Clock. Here are a few of those designs from way back in 2009 (that’s 7 years ago for those counting):

And the coolest part about this? We also had custom sounds for each one of these. Waves for the porthole, a ringing school bell for classroom, etc. Fancy that, an entire experience.

And yet, here we sit in 2016 and the $1000+ Apple Watch I wear on my arm has ugly faces. The one thing that matters with anyone’s watch. Not the outer case or band design. But what you see everytime you look at the face. I think it represents the single biggest opportunity for the Apple Watch, both in terms of financial growth, but also Apple’s beloved consumer satisfaction scores.

I can send my heartbeat to a friend, but I can’t get a face like the above from the millions of creatives in the world.

Heck, maybe you can even present a “Clock Shop” as a section inside the App Store. Oh wait, we did that 7 years ago too :)

— Sean


Faces Are The New Apps for Watches & Wearables was originally published in Humanizing Technology on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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from Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/1YdhhnZ