If you were wondering just how creative you’ll be able to get with your Apple Watch timekeeper, we have some bad news. Apple is rejecting apps that just tell time, effectively eliminating all custom watch faces on the device.
The new rule is part of Apple’s updated App Store Review Guidelines. Guideline 10.7 states clearly: “Watch Apps whose primary function is telling time will be rejected.”
App developers have long wondered whether Apple would allow custom watch faces on the app store, a potential gold mine for devs and interface designers.
In the months leading up the launch, Apple hadn’t discussed allowing for such an option, instead talking up the ability to “customize” the device’s existing watch faces by changing the display options on each face.
Currently, the Apple Watch offers nine customizable watch faces. But last month, one Apple user noticed a couple of watch faces with photo backgrounds promoted by Apple that apparently didn’t make the cut for launch.
Of course, just because the third-party custom watch face option doesn’t exist now doesn’t mean it won’t be added later via updates. There may well be co-branded efforts with existing luxury brands (think a Gucci watch face app or a Mercedes watch face app).
But even in those cases, it’s likely Apple would have some say in the design approach. Maintaining tight control of the look of Apple products remains a priority for the company.
That approach is starkly different from other wearables, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which allows users to customize their watch faces.