The Big Change for the Apple Watch in 2023 will be it's new Interface Scheme, bringing back Widgets
Today we're learning that as part of watchOS 10, Apple is planning to bring back widgets and make them a central part of the interface. This new strategy will debut at WWDC in June.
The new widgets system on the Apple Watch will be a combination of the old watchOS Glances system and the style of widgets that were introduced in iOS 14 on the iPhone. The plan is to let users scroll through a series of different widgets — for activity tracking, weather, stock tickers, calendar appointments and more — rather than having them launch apps.
The new interface will be reminiscent of the Siri watch face which is presented in our cover graphic. This interface was introduced in watchOS 4, but it will be available as an overlay for any watch face. It’s also similar to widget stacks, a feature in iOS and iPadOS that lets users pile many widgets into one and scroll through them.
As part of the overhaul, Apple is testing the idea of changing the functions of some of the watch’s buttons. Currently, a press of the Digital Crown launches the home screen. For the next version of watchOS, Apple may have that open up widgets instead.
The move is an admission that the iPhone-like app format doesn’t always make sense on a watch — a place where you want as much information as possible with the least amount of poking around.
Seven years since their introduction, Apple Watch apps have barely caught on. The company also hasn’t gotten enough third-party developers on board, especially when you compare with its other platforms. A recent filing in Europe illustrates this point – as noted below. The watch App Store has fewer than a million monthly users in the region, versus 101 million on the iPhone.
In light of that, watchOS 10 will give people what they want: even quicker access to bits of information. Still, the shift may be jarring for some long-time Apple Watch users. Gurman adds that Apple may consider making the new interface optional, at least at first. For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report.