Apple is known for keeping a very tight leash over the type of apps it allows in the App Store, but now with the release of the Apple Watch, it’s taking things to new heights. The App Store Review Guidelines have been updated to reflect Apple’s demands for third-party Apple Watch apps. As many predicted, Apple has officially banned alternative watch faces and time-telling apps.
“Apple Watch apps whose primary function is telling time will be rejected,” the guide reads. Apple even added that other “apps that look similar to apps bundled on iOS or Watch OS devices, including the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store, will be rejected.”
Related: Read our Apple Watch review
Prior to the Watch’s release, Apple touted the amount of time and energy that went into designing each and every watch face that came bundled with the Watch. CEO Tim Cook even talked about how incredibly accurate the Watch is at telling time. Apple’s emphasis on how cool and smart its watch faces are led many to believe that the company would forbid the creation of alternative watch faces, so the new guidelines don’t come as much of a surprise.
Regardless, Apple’s refusal to allow developers to add alternative watch faces has provoked a number of critical and satirical tweets on the subject.
Apple gave us a Time label in Xcode for WatchKit, but won’t let us utilise it properly? Custom Watch Faces should 100% be a thing
— Aled (@SunburstEnzo) April 29, 2015
However, even if Apple doesn’t allow third-party watch faces for the time being, the company may soon add more watch faces to its selection, so as to appease users. After all, Apple’s iOS has become more open to extensions, third-party keyboards, and new types of interactions in iOS 8, so it’s possible that the company may one day open up its Watch further to developers.
In the meantime, Apple Watch users will either just have to deal with the limited customization options they currently have, or defect over to Android. Google has recently boasted there are more than 1,000 custom watch faces available for Android Wear.