Kevin Lynch, the head of the Apple Watch, did not hesitate for a second to tell the packed Bill Gaham auditorium at WWDC 2016 that he was wearing “Mickey’s watchface” on the weekends. Apple has always been clear about this: the Watch is a platform on which each user configures the options they consider necessary.
This is an approach that Cupertino’s people know very well with the iPhone: a team that serves as a base for the developers to create the applications that the users will later choose so that everyone can configure it in their own way. Now what is choice and why?
Why Apple doesn’t want to lose control of the watchface
The first thing that struck me when I arrived at the Apple Watch is the scarcity of spheres available to the user. Apple has not wanted to lose control in the development of watchfaces and for the moment does not allow the entry of third parties . On the other hand, the brand is not very generous in the available catalogue either. Why is that? Because in reality the watchfaces are much more than interfaces in the Apple Watch.
The firm explains that it wants the watchfaces to be “a reflection” of the person and hence the user can customize the complications and colors, but within the catalog offered by the house. Apple doesn’t want to lose control of the user experience and that’s why the only real control that allows the user are the complications
The Power of Complications
As we have said, this is the only margin of control – apart from the aesthetic one – that Apple gives the user when setting up their Watch. And it is convenient to spend some time choosing those that are most useful to the user. The idea of smartwatches is that they are fundamentally useful and save the user time. Knowing this… how do we choose those that are most useful to us? Over time I have learned that the formula for success depends on these two elements:
- Speed: it is difficult to know how many times we turn our wrist in search of information (other than the time, of course), but most of the time it will be looking for something specific. It’s a matter of locating that need which gives us the answer at a glance. In my case I have found that Fantastical’s complication gives me in one turn the time of the next appointment or meeting. Fast, simple and effective.
- Frequency: Just as we have located that information that we often use at a glance in the Watch, it is convenient to do the same with those more everyday actions in our watch. In my case, the activation of Sleep++ to start the sleep monitoring, and the timer to measure time spaces at work.