[Updated September 16 with version 1.4 release notes for watchOS 7.]
Apple Watch faces are highly customizable compared to watches that came before it. There is still room for possibilities for a watch that is as smart as the iPhone, and that is what David Smith’s smart-looking Watchsmith app will prove.
Watchsmith lets you create dynamic Apple Watch complications that change throughout the day. Do you want a complication to check the weather in the morning, view your work calendar during 9 to 5 and view your activity data before bedtime?
Watchsmith can do everything with a single complication, and potentially free up traces of other complications.
Subscribe to the 9to5Macs Watch Time podcast to hear an in-depth interview with Watchsmith developer David Smith later today: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Cloudy.
Adds support for multiple complications. You can now configure as many variants of a given complication type as you want. Give them each meaningful name and then select them on your wrist.
Update 4/22: Here’s what’s new in version 1.1:
– Dramatically updated user interface, with clearer descriptions of the individual complications
– Clearer marking for the standard complication button
– General performance improvements
– Add location via GPS
– Fix tint for time type
– Attach device view for Dew Point
– Fix distance units that are displayed during the training sessions and in the training history
– Add calendar options to the Watch app
– Added a link to watch a review video to explain the use of the app
Other recent updates have added Conways Game of Life, UV index, wind speed, precipitation, rounded hourglass type, “Pixel Weather” complication and more.
How it works
Watchsmith starts with iPhone. The app allows you to create a schedule for the Apple Watch complication using supported data sources, and you can create different schedules for different clock surfaces.
There is a learning curve involved in version 1.0 of the complication customization, but the user interface is easy to use once you have it. The trick is to realize that Watchsmith can change the complication up to 24 times per day with a mode for every hour of the day.
The more likely scenario is that you only want a few modes for different time blocks.
Data sources include day and date, time, calendar, activity, weather, tide, astronomy (which I love!), Time zones and battery status. You can also set Watchsmith’s complication to be empty within certain hours, and you can expect more data sources to be added over time.
My Watchsmith complication
I spoke with Watchsmith developer David Smith for an episode of 9to5Mac Watch Time that came out on Wednesday, April 8, and was told that his use of the app is much easier than mine. His complication only changes mode once or twice – a great use case for Apple Watch users at all skill levels.
For my Watchsmith complication, I use it on the face in California with Arabic numerals and circular style. This facial style offers four corner complications and one dial complication.
Before Watchsmith, the Apple Watch face always looked like this:
- Top left: Be Temp
- Top right: Fantastic
- Bottom left: Activity
- Bottom right: Exercise (or an unreleased fitness watch app)
- Upper center: Pulse
This allows me to check the temperature range in the morning when I dress my kids, know the date when I need it, see how much activity is left when I have time to exercise, start a workout (or [redacted]), and see my heart rate throughout the day.
I love all this data and I want to see it in an instant when I need it, but I do not have to see all the data all the time. Furthermore, it is additional data I want to see in a moment, but not with the compromise between using the information-dense Infograph face that obscures time.
This is where Watchsmith shows its strength, and enables this instead:
- Top left: Exercise (or the unreleased fitness watch app)
- Top right: Fantastic
- Bottom left: Calories
- Bottom right: Watchmaker
- Upper center: Pulse
Watchsmith uses one complication track and releases another for my calorie tracking app. It’s a good start, but what information does Watchsmith present to me? I break it down:
- Midnight to 5 am: Sunrise
- 05.00 to 08.00: Current temperature with high and low temperatures
- 08.00 to 14.00: Calendar wheel that shows appointments visually
- 14.00 to 16.00: Local time in London
- 16.00 to 20.00: Activity data
- 20.00 to 22.00: Moon phase
- 22.00 to 12.00: Star field
An intelligent system
This schedule works very well for my daily routine. If I wake up before sunrise, I can know when it is safe to go on an outdoor race. When I wake my children up at the usual time, I can know how to dress them for the day.
When the work begins, I can see how many appointments I have in the calendar and see how soon the next one starts on the schedule. The time zone complication is most useful on Thursdays when I record 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour podcast centrally with my colleague Benjamin Mayo in the UK.
After work, I can look at my activity data and know how much movement is required to achieve my training goals. I do not mind seeing this throughout the day, but it always starts at zero, and you often can not shop at the training goal until after work.
I love watching the moon phase on my watch match the moon when I look up at night, but it can be hard to dedicate one of four corner complications to it all day. Watchsmith shows me this when it’s actually relevant.
When it comes to the star field complication, this is a nice signal that it’s time for bedtime. If I’m awake at midnight, the sunrise complication drives home as soon as the next day begins.
This type of intelligent system is welcome on the Apple Watch. Siri face is the closest solution to seeing relevant data all day without Watchsmith, but Siri face intelligence is not predictable, and I prefer analog faces with numbers around the dial.
Just the beginning
An interesting question Watchsmith needed to answer is: What happens when you touch on the complication? It can display a wide range of information at any time of the day.
The simple answer would be to not show much at all. Just place Watchsmith as a complication and give as little in the watch app as possible.
However, that’s not what Watchsmith does. It is a super app that contains lots of additional data. The top layer is a list of color-coded categories that can be arranged. These include workouts, weather, health, calendar, time zone, astronomy and games at launch.
Each category contains what can rightly serve as its own app, sometimes with multiple sections, and Watchsmith on watchOS includes wonderful animations throughout the app.
I can say so much more about Watchsmith from font selection to future features, but the best way to experience the app is to spend some time with it. Subscribe to 9to5Mac Watch Time to hear much more from my interview with Watchsmith developer David Smith later today.
Watchsmith is now available in the App Store. Download Watchsmith for free and unlock more features and customization options for $ 1.99 / month or $ 19.99 / year. Subscriptions cover the cost of additional data sources and support ongoing development, and there are also plenty of tools for free.
Originally published April 8, 2020.
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