There has been some suggestion that Apple might allow third-party watch faces for the Apple Watch soon. Apparently, some code in the latest watchOS beta suggests this possibility.
Early on, I wondered why Apple didn’t offer the ability for third-party watch faces to be installed on the Apple Watch, but then I thought back to a very brief experience I had using the Pebble smartwatch. The thousands of watch faces available for free download were mostly horrid. They made the Pebble look like an early Linux interface. If Apple opened up the Apple Watch to third-party watch faces, the store would most likely be flooded with crap.
Of course, Apple’s approach is a bit different than Pebble’s. You would still need an Apple developer account to distribute a watch face, and this would limit many of the crappiest looking faces. However, that might also limit some nice faces by people who can’t or don’t want to pay the $99 per year for a developer account.
I had expected some branded watch faces, similar to the Nike and Hermès faces that are only available with specific watch models. (And the Explorer face, only available on the cellular Apple Watch 3.) Perhaps that’s what Apple will allow: a limited selection of watch faces from certain brands.
It is a tough call; it dilutes the image of the Apple Watch, but it does allow for more customization. If Apple does allow custom watch faces, it will be interesting to so what users choose.