Watch­smith

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - J.R. Book­wal­ter

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Smart­watch own­ers love be­ing able to cus­tom­ize the ap­pear­ance of the Ap­ple Watch face. With just a few taps on the screen or ro­ta­tions of the dig­i­tal crown, no two wrists look the same. But in typ­i­cal Ap­ple fash­ion, that per­son­al­iza­tion stops just short of per­fec­tion, since there’s no way for de­vel­op­ers to cre­ate truly unique third-party watch faces of their own.

In­stead, Ap­ple Watch lovers must rely on an ex­ten­sive bat­tery of com­pli­ca­tions to pop­u­late favourite watch faces with data rel­e­vant to each per­son. For those look­ing to go be­yond this lim­i­ta­tion, there’s now an in­ge­nious app de­signed to au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play a wide range

of com­pli­ca­tions on a given sched­ule through­out the day. It’s the clos­est we’ll likely come to cus­tom Ap­ple Watch faces.

DY­NAMIC COM­PLI­CA­TIONS

Watch­smith is a clever iPhone app that al­lows Ap­ple Watch own­ers to change what in­for­ma­tion gets dis­played from its sup­ported com­pli­ca­tions, and when such data will be up­dated. In to­tal, there are 43 dif­fer­ent source op­tions sup­ported across 10 cat­e­gory styles: Date, Time, Cal­en­dar, Ac­tiv­ity, Weather, Tides, Astron­omy, Time­zone, Bat­tery and Blank. (The lat­ter pro­vides a way for users to ef­fec­tively ‘re­move’ a com­pli­ca­tion en­tirely by re­plac­ing

that part of the screen with solid black in­stead.)

Along with a num­ber of vari­a­tions there are cur­rently six core watch faces Watch­smith is ca­pa­ble of work­ing its magic on: In­fo­graph Cir­cle, In­fo­graph Cor­ner, In­fo­graph Top and In­fo­graph Large for Se­ries 4 and 5 mod­els only, as well as Mo­du­lar Small and X-Large, which also work on Se­ries 1, 2 and

3. As the owner of an Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3, this was ini­tially some­what of a dis­ap­point­ment, but thank­fully Mo­du­lar Small is our pre­ferred watch face any­way. (The de­vel­oper plans to in­tro­duce sup­port for other watch faces in the fu­ture.) Ev­ery­thing is con­fig­ured from the iPhone app, where you are first pre­sented with a list of avail­able watch faces, along with thumb­nail im­ages de­not­ing which com­pli­ca­tions can be cus­tom­ized. As changes are made, they ap­pear on a hor­i­zon­tal time­line rel­a­tive to the daily sched­ule you’ve con­fig­ured. When the sched­uled time ar­rives, Watch­smith re­places the de­fault com­pli­ca­tion with one of your choos­ing.

ON SCHED­ULE

To get started with Watch­smith, se­lect a watch face you wish to per­son­al­ize. The de­fault com­pli­ca­tion is po­si­tioned at cen­tre, sur­rounded by a 24-hour ana­logue clock used to de­ter­mine when ad­di­tional styles will be dis­played. New com­pli­ca­tions are added by tap­ping the plus

but­ton, se­lect­ing a de­sired style, then ad­just­ing start and end times.

Should you wish to keep the same length but change which hours a com­pli­ca­tion is ac­tive, sim­ply tap, hold and move that block to any un­oc­cu­pied space on the clock dial. There can be as many dif­fer­ent en­tries as there are hours in the day, although it’s hard to imag­ine who might want to see a com­pli­ca­tion up­date 24 times be­tween each sun­rise.

For any of the In­fo­graph styles, Watch­smith can also change the colour of the back­ground, as well as top and bot­tom data. Mo­du­lar Small and X-Large watch faces aren’t sup­ported since mono­chrome colours are dic­tated by watchOS, but any style with text also of­fers the op­tion to change type style from six avail­able fonts. (Note: the app re­quires watchOS 6 or later.)

BONUS FEA­TURES

De­spite pri­mar­ily be­ing geared to­ward per­son­al­iza­tion, Watch­smith has an­other trick up its sleeve. Tap­ping on any of its com­pli­ca­tions opens the watchOS app, which dou­bles as a handy dash­board with seven colour-coded short­cuts for ac­cess­ing Work­outs, Weather, Health, Cal­en­dar, Astron­omy, Games or Time­zones.

While few of these mini-apps are as full-fea­tured as stand­alone so­lu­tions, they’re still pretty good and con­ve­niently im­ple­mented. (One of two in­cluded games, Bounce

is sim­ply Pong in a cir­cle, but quite ad­dic­tive none­the­less.) Best of all, most of Watch­smith’s fea­tures are free – only those re­quir­ing data from out­side sources (cur­rently Tide and Weather) re­quire a re­cur­ring Pre­mium sub­scrip­tion priced at £1.99 per month or £19.99 an­nu­ally.

As ver­sa­tile as Watch­smith is, there are one or two things it can’t do be­cause of watchOS lim­i­ta­tions, such as add mul­ti­ple copies of a sin­gle com­pli­ca­tion type to the same watch face. (The app won’t pre­vent you from do­ing this, how­ever. You’ll just wind up dis­play­ing du­pli­cates of the same data.) Other fea­tures I’d like to see im­ple­mented in fu­ture up­dates are sup­port for HomeKit short­cuts, Mu­sic con­trols and Walkie-Talkie, all fea­tures I use on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but not enough to ded­i­cate pre­cious com­pli­ca­tion re­sources to them.

VERDICT

Although not quite the same as hav­ing real third-party watch faces, Watch­smith def­i­nitely makes the ex­pe­ri­ence of own­ing an Ap­ple Watch more fun, espe­cially if you pre­fer a more cus­tom­iz­a­ble ex­pe­ri­ence and own one of the most re­cent mod­els.

Watch­smith uses the iPhone app to per­son­al­ize com­pli­ca­tions from a sev­eral watch faces, although only newer mod­els sup­port all of the avail­able In­fo­graph op­tions.

With sup­port for 43 styles across 10 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, Watch­smith of­fers a wide range of com­pli­ca­tion per­son­al­iza­tion choices.

Per­son­al­iz­ing your com­pli­ca­tions is as easy as choos­ing a style, then se­lect­ing what time you want it to ap­pear on your Watch.

In­fo­graph watch faces can be con­fig­ured in dif­fer­ent colours, but older mod­els are lim­ited to the sin­gle colour set in watchOS.

Tap­ping on any Watch­smith com­pli­ca­tion opens the watchOS app, which in­cludes short­cuts for dis­play­ing ac­tiv­ity and other tools.

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