Development for the Apple Watch poses its own set of unique challenges given the small display and limited processing power. One caveat that has existed since its inception is that there has been no way for third-parties to create their own custom watch faces.

In code recently discovered in watchOS 4.3.1 beta, there are some hints to indicate that Apple may finally give in and allow developers to create custom faces that drastically change the look of its core functionality.

Customizing any iOS devices leaves limited options in terms of user interface changes, making it a fairly significant change by Apple. There is no ability to add a custom launcher, easily change default icons, or even just arrange apps anywhere you want on home screens. Of course there are workarounds to each of these, but the majority of users will never attempt such changes due to the effort required.

The code comment discovered states, "This is where the 3rd party face config bundle generation would happen." Although the feature is not yet active in the latest beta version, watchOS 5 seems a likely milestone where it may be implemented.

Other competing wearables such as Android Wear watches and Fitbit trackers have allowed custom watch faces for years now. Apple will not approve any apps for its watch that are too similar to built-in watchOS functions and will not allow apps that attempt to act as watch faces.

Allowing greater customization on what is largely a fashion product would be a step in the right direction for Apple. Whether or not further customization will be possible in future watchOS releases remains to be seen since there is still plenty of time for changes to be made.

Image Credit: Code sample via 9to5 Mac