It’s long overdue. And it would fill the gap left by the apps leaving the Apple Watch. Apple’s developer conference WWDC is happening in less than two weeks, with lots of expected news on iOS 12, Macs, iPads and yes, the next version of its Apple Watch software. And while there are plenty of things I’d like to see in Watch OS 5, there’s one thing I want most of all: a watch face store. It needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.
I like watch faces. A lot. In fact, it’s the main reason I love smartwatches. The fun of a watch is how you can change the face. Show off something new. Make it feel different. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch has a tiny number of available faces. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are probably the most famous, and Apple adds a few more each year… but they’re limiting. I’m bored with them. And customization is limited: You can set your own photo as the background, but you can’t add any complications.
Compare that to the new Fitbit Versa. I’ve gotten a kick out of wearing it mainly because of its insane watch face store. There are hundreds of watch faces to browse. It’s a rogue’s gallery, a weird bunch of enthusiast designs. Many of the Versa’s watch faces are awful. Some are wonderful. Plenty are worth exploring for a day or two. (Look at some examples in the lengthy Twitter thread above.) But the presence of Fitbit’s watch face store makes the Fitbit Versa a better watch.
But there are signs that Apple may be pivoting: As 9to5Mac reported last month, support for third-party watch faces seems to be embedded in the code for the latest beta version of Watch OS 4. (Veteran Apple source code watcher Steve Troughton-Smith noted on Twitter that it may not mean a watch face store is on the way, but I’m choosing to remain optimistic.)