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Apple Watch Face Legibility

In a post on Marco.org, Overcast developer Marco Arment critiques the design of many of the current Apple Watch faces. Using a variety of analog watches as references, Arment highlights the design elements that make them legible, few of which are followed by Apple’s faces:

Across a wide variety of brands, styles, and price points, a few key design principles are clear:

  • The hour markers for 12 (and often 3/6/9) are more prominent.
  • The hour indices are much larger than the minute markings.
  • The hour hands nearly touch the hour indices.

These all improve legibility by making it as fast and easy as possible to know which hour is being indicated (and minimize the chance of an off-by-one error), first by orienting your eyes to the current rotation with the 12 marker, then by minimizing the distance between the hour hand and the indices it’s between.

Arment is especially critical of the Infograph face, which is so hard to read that many people have resorted to using a digital time complication with it. He concludes that it’s time for Apple to allow third parties to create watch faces.

We covered our Apple Watch faces on AppStories this week, and both Federico and I noted that we use a digital time complication with the Infograph watch face because the hands are so hard to read. As Arment’s piece points out, that isn’t uncommon, but it shouldn’t be necessary and is a pretty clear indication that the design is flawed. I’ve been happy with the Series 4 Watch’s support for more complications, but I also want more face options and flexibility across watch faces. It's time for Apple to re-evaluate its current watch faces and reconsider letting developers create faces of their own.

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Apple Releases Bug Fix Update to iOS 12

Apple has released iOS 12.0.1, which fixes several bugs that affected users after upgrading to iOS 12.

One of the highest profile issues affected the iPhone XS, which sometimes failed to begin charging when connected to a Lightning cable. Other users reported that after the iOS 12 update, their iPhones would connect to WiFi networks at 2.4 GHz instead of 5.0 GHz even when both were available. Apple's release notes say both issues have been fixed. The update also addresses a Bluetooth connectivity issue and a problem where subtitles sometimes didn’t appear in video apps.

iOS 12.0.1 includes a small design change on the iPad too. With the iOS 12 update, the ‘.?123’ key was moved. With version 12.0.1, that key has been restored to its previous position on the software keyboard.


Halide Introduces Smart RAW for iPhone XS, Joining a Host of Other Improvements

Since its debut Halide has been one of the best manual camera apps available on iPhone. The month of September brought a number of challenges to Halide's team though, thanks to all the photography work Apple put into iOS 12 and the iPhone XS. And in response, within the span of a few weeks Halide has receive two major updates: version 1.9 on iOS 12's release date, and releasing today is version 1.10 featuring Smart RAW.

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Review: Yoink Adds Support for Latest Mojave and iOS 12 Features

Yoink is the app I use on my Mac every day as a temporary spot to park files, snippets of text, images, and URLs. By itself, Yoink for Mac has been a fantastic time-saver. The latest updates to Yoink for iOS and the Mac, however, have been transformative. There's more that can be done to support the cross-platform use of Yoink, but Handoff support, which makes it simple to move data between my Mac and iOS devices, and several other new features have already added a new dimension to the way I use the app and embedded it deeper into my day-to-day workflow than ever before.

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Setapp: The Right App, Right When You Need It [Sponsor]

Setapp is a Mac app subscription service created by MacPaw, the maker of CleanMyMac X, Gemini II, and other great apps. For one low monthly fee, Setapp offers more than 100 of the very best Mac apps from big names like Ulysses, Bartender, iStat Menus, and iMazing. It’s a collection that is continually growing, becoming more and more valuable to subscribers all the time.

Setapp is an app store done right. With over 100 apps in 10 categories to choose from, Setapp is the key to making you more productive on your Mac. You can pick from task managers and time tracking apps, text editors, photo editors, developer tools, and much more.

Getting the apps you want to use is fast and simple too. When you sign up, Setapp installs a handy catalog on your Mac for browsing its offerings. The included apps are carefully vetted and curated, so you know that only the highest quality apps from the best developers are involved. Setapp is designed to make finding just the right app easy too with its powerful search for finding apps by task or keyword.

The business model couldn’t be more clear either. There are no hidden costs or gimmicks. You pay just $9.99 per month for access to the entire catalog of apps including any updates. There are no fees for upgrades, no In-App Purchases, or other hidden costs. Every app is a fully functional version that updates automatically.

Sign up today to unlock this fantastic collection of Mac apps. Setapp is free to try, and you can extend the trial period up to six months by referring friends.

Our thanks to Setapp for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Daily Dictionary’s New Watch App Showcases the Latest watchOS Capabilities

Developer Benjamin Mayo released an update this week to his new word of the day app, Daily Dictionary. Version 1.2 adds an Apple Watch app, making it easy and convenient to view each day's featured word from your wrist.

Daily Dictionary's Watch app is particularly noteworthy due to its complications for the Series 4's Infograph faces, and its custom UI for notifications. For complications, you can use a smaller option containing the app's logo which serves as a launcher, or you can select a larger complication that includes the logo alongside the word of the day itself. If you'd like it to, the larger complication can also display the current date, saving you the need for a separate date complication elsewhere on the face.

One of the ways Daily Dictionary can provide its featured word each day is through a push notification, and if you have the new Watch app installed, you'll get to see a custom notification UI that reflects the design of the full iOS app. Watch developers can take advantage of APIs that enable crafting more customizable notification interfaces, and Daily Dictionary is a great example of that. Now that the Apple Watch is becoming a more mainstream product, and since one of the Watch's chief strengths is as a notification conduit, I hope we see lots of apps follow Daily Dictionary's example in providing more creative Watch notifications.

Daily Dictionary is available on the App Store.