In the months leading up the launch, Apple hadn’t discussed allowing for such an option, instead talking up the ability to “customize” the device’s existing watch faces by changing the display options on each face.
Currently, the Apple Watch offers nine customizable watch faces. But last month, one Apple user noticed a couple of watch faces with photo backgrounds promoted by Apple that apparently didn’t make the cut for launch.
Of course, just because the third-party custom watch face option doesn’t exist now doesn’t mean it won’t be added later via updates. There may well be co-branded efforts with existing luxury brands (think a Gucci watch face app or a Mercedes watch face app).
But even in those cases, it’s likely Apple would have some say in the design approach. Maintaining tight control of the look of Apple products remains a priority for the company.
That approach is starkly different from other wearables, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which allows users to customize their watch faces.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the guidelines update.