Interview details intricate Apple Watch face design processes

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Interview details intricate Apple Watch face design processes

A new Wired interview with Apple human interface chief Alan Dye provides insight into the intricate design process behind some of the Apple Watch’s faces. Dye said that to capture a flower blooming for one Motion face, Apple designers took more than 24,000 photos over 285 hours instead of turning to CGI techniques. The team built a fish tank in its studio to capture jellyfish movements at 300 frames per second for another Motion face, and the Astronomy face starts its path from a user’s precise location on Earth toward the moon. Even seemingly simple decisions like using concentric circles to represent progress toward fitness goals took a year to finalize. Other details include Mickey Mouse’s one-second foot tap, timed so that it’s exactly the same on every Apple Watch. “We have a group of people who are really, really super-talented, but they really care. They care about details that a designer might not show in his portfolio because it’s so arcane. And yet getting it right is so critical to the experience,” Dye said. Apple has released a series of tutorial videos for manipulating Apple Watch’s faces, but customers will have to wait until the watch’s official launch on April 24 for the full experience.

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Dan Pye

Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.