Data is square: part 2

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Abner Li: Compared to Wear OS, watchOS 10 Apps and Widgets Are Next-Gen

This layout/template works because it uses all the available space. It comes down to the Apple Watch being a rectangle and Wear OS watches being circular. The circle, while iconic and a point of pride for Google in designing the Pixel Watch, is constrained in terms of text layout and button placement.

Me 8 years ago in a post titled “Data is Square”:

Smart watch makers are so attached to the past, attached to the traditional watch look that they are too afraid to do something different. The Moto 360 is not round because that’s the best design for the watch, it’s round because its a familiar shape and Motorola thinks people will be more willing to put it on their wrist. Apple has gone the other direction and either intentionally or unintentionally designed the Apple Watch around the data they are presenting. It may not look like traditional watches, but it’s a design that makes more sense for what people will use the Watch for.

I’ve been using watchOS 10 for nearly 2 months now and the UI improvements are excellent, and more than ever it takes advantage of the full screen area afforded by the Apple Watch’s rectangular screen. I don’t deny the novelty or the aesthetic delight round screens can bring people, but I remain as convinced today as I did back in 2015 that rectangular smart watches are more useful in nearly every way.