Why are Apple Watch faces such a mess?

“Apple’s apparent lack of interest in providing a consistent experience for watch faces and complications is so puzzling,” Snell writes. “Let’s look at the Infograph faces, since they’re one of the highlights of the new, larger Series 4 display. They introduce a bunch of new complication types that take advantage of the extra space. But a lot of Apple Watch users have been surprised that they can’t add older complications to those faces. Apps need to be updated to explicitly support the new complication style, which was only introduced to developers on the day the Apple Watch Series 4 was announced.”

“It’s kind of hard to believe that Apple didn’t bother with some basic compatibility layer, something that lets the old complications work in the new space until there’s time for an update,” Jason Snell writes for Macworld. “Even more bonkers is the fact that Apple didn’t update some of its own apps to support the new complication format. If you’re someone who wants to keep quick access to the Messages app on an Infograph watch face, you can’t. Apple just dropped the ball.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Inexplicable.

Unless you consider how and why mismanagement occurs, that is.

Now, this is a minor thing in the scheme of things (although indicative of ongoing issues roiling just beneath the trillion-dollar surface), but on bigger issues (see articles below), heads should have rolled, but didn’t – and that’s a major reason why Apple cannot for years now get a handle on quality control.

(Again, the company’s share price can continue to rise and the quality of the products and user experience can decline – TO A POINT! – the two are not mutually exclusive until the product quality/user experience decline reaches the tipping point. We are far from that; today, we are but canaries in the coal mine, chirping now for 4+ years.)

People can get complacent, lazy, and slipshod. Trying to bury them in RSUs doesn’t seem to be very effective, Tim. Lopping off a few significant scalps and tacking them to the company bulletin board, now that can work wonders.

The consequences of an act affect the probability of its occurring again. — B.F. Skinner

Siri Shortcuts can’t even launch the Nike Run Club app, despite Apple selling Nike-branded Apple Watches for years – September 18, 2018
The MacBook Pro’s throttling issues are fixed, but Apple hasn’t solved its biggest problem: Quality control – July 25, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook plummets in Glassdoor’s tech CEO rankings – June 20, 2018
Tim Cook: ‘Maybe we should have been clearer’ over throttling iPhones with aging batteries – January 18, 2018
Apple product delays have more than doubled under CEO Tim Cook – January 5, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
At Tim Cook’s Apple, Steve Jobs is long gone, and so is the ‘it just works’ ethos – December 19, 2017
Tim Cook’s sloppy, unfocused Apple rushes to fix a major Mac security bug – November 29, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple’s Tim Cook reaped $145 million last year, most of S&P 500 CEOs – June 30, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook plummets 45 spots in employee ratings – June 22, 2017
Who has taken over at Apple? – April 5, 2017
Walt Mossberg: Apple’s software needs work – February 3, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook falls from 1st to 18th in Glassdoor’s tech CEO rankings – March 15, 2013


    1. It’s only an issue if you’re upgrading from an older version and just HAVE to have the same exact complication as your earlier version. For most people — and everyone buying an Apple Watch for the first time — this is a non-issue.

  1. MDN so fricken judgmental! Maybe they didn’t want to tip their hand to SameDung. Give the devs a minute to catch up! The new watch is awesome, and better than anything you’ve done whiny ass batches.

      1. Perhaps you should turn that judgement to a little editing. Who is Snell? Is it Jason Snell, a snell fishing knot, Snell the Snail. This article does not make Snell (whoever he may be) a canary in the coal mine. It makes him a whiner on blog. There is surely continued room to improve, but the same complainers then call the improvement merely “iterative.” Cut the crap and get off of your pea, Princess Snell and MDN.

          1. The analogy itself doesn’t make sense. The article suggests that they are chirping (complaining) for 4+ years Canaries chirping in a coal mine signified that things were good. It was their silence that signified an issue (because they were dead).

  2. Tim is taking Apple to a disaster in the long term . The only thing helping Apple now is that its competition is mostly incapable of doing great products . But if some company brought something decent to the market in computers , phones, etc.. Apple would be risking losing a lot of unsatisfied Mac and iPhone users .

  3. It’s amazing how people have difficulty figuring out simple stuff.

    By changing the way complications work, Apple is incentivizing 3rd party developers to go back and and update their code. Given, that third party watch app development has stagnated and that the Apple Watch 4 promises to improve the third party app experience, Apple has a clear reason to give developers a little push…

  4. “we are but canaries in the coal mine, chirping now for 4+ years.”
    In another 4 years, they will have been chirping for 8+ years.

    There are some anal retentive OCD snowflakes that want to explode about any and everything that doesn’t make them feel like they’re in their safe space, then there’s the rest of us who, AREN’T forced to write clickbait headlines to make a living 🙂

    1. “Apple didn’t update some of its own apps to support the new complication format. If you’re someone who wants to keep quick access to the Messages app on an Infograph watch face, you can’t. Apple just dropped the ball.”

      There’s no excuse for this, Apple (and Tim Cook) apologists. No excuse.

      And MDN warned that Apple was slipping years ago:

      Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

    2. And it’s a bad analogy. Canaries in a coal mine chirping signified that everything was good. If they were silent its because they were dead from toxic gases. The article seems to have that the other way around.

  5. IMO a mass of complications can in itself can cause complications. Is there any difference between texting while you are driving and looking at a dozen complications at 70 MPH?

    Complications might work in certain environments as long you are not driving.

    I’m getting an Watch in the next month and will want a simple face. What do I really need on the face? Date is OK. When Apple delivers PulseOx I’ll add that, and same for blood glucose levels. They might be sufficiently important to keep the data on the watch face. Otherwise it’s easy to tell Siri to open the app on my iPhone.

    1. You don’t know what you’re talking about because you don’t have a Watch yet. I have 4 very relevant complications on my watch face (not to mention quick access to my latest notifications), having only the date and time would gut the purpose of the Watch: relevant information at a glance/at your fingertips.

  6. Love the new S4 watch. I would like to have some of my old complications on the new face. My solution for now is having a work face and home face (with the home and tile complications). They are a swipe apart. This is a very first world problem…

  7. Is it just me, or can Apple just never win with some people? Ah, it’s me. ; )

    Seriously, I like that Apple has a ton of watch faces and designs to choose from which I can customize like crazy…

    So here we have an Apple product you can actually change and customize, unlike just about everything else Apple ships, and people get upset. Hmpf… Again, can’t win with some folks I suppose…

    1. Agreed. MDN= moaning damn naysayers
      I love this site-its the best Applecentric news aggregator- but I am floored by the negativity sometimes. With fans like these, who needs enemies…

    2. I do love the new apple watch4 too – hardware wise.
      But they really dropped the ball in omitting to include simple key complications for their frontrunner infograph face which is supposed to be the ultimate dashboard. Missing messages for me is one major omission that should have been raised big time in QA.
      Also, the heart-rate complication lost all its live information. Having just the heart icon there is pretty useless!
      So I am stuck with the old ActivityAnalog face that feels very stretched on that big screen… and indeed swipe now and then to show friends the new flawed infograph to showcase the new screen. Puzzling really! Let’s hope they fix that quickly in an update.

  8. Why can’t 3rd party developers create faces?

    The LGBQT faces are a case in point. Now I don’t particularly care if Apple wants to provide watch faces for Tim’s buddies. I have no interest, I would never use such watch faces. But I am irked that I can’t get watch faces for causes *I* care about.

  9. This is a very, very, very minor issue, easily fixable in software.

    The Apple Watch 4 is an absolutely fantastic product and a smash hit, something that only a firm at the top of its game could have done.

    Sorry MDN, you dropped the ball, not Apple.

  10. This is Cook trying to extract every last monetary unit from its customers beyond any consideration for value for money. jobs wanted that too, but he at least had a quest to give the best experience possible in exchange and in so doing created that unique bond between company and customer that stimulates that loyalty the company relies so heavily upon. Its ironic that Cook puts on this front of being Mr nice guy all liberal and considerate, (something Jobs never tried or felt necessary), but underneath that charade is just a hard assed money man exploiting his loyal customer base in ways that would shock jobs and his way of doing things.

    Short term this will put gloss on the profit figures and keep the markets happy, longer term it could be very harmful for a company that charges a premium for its products and services precisely on the Jobsobian basis that you got top quality for your buying choice and it just worked. It seems to tie in with his other policy of no new innovation unless it has proven profit potential first which explains much of the late to market products like Homepod even when Apple has an initial lead in the technology.

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