January 31, 2023

You’ve perhaps already learned about the big announcements and newness from Apple with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and the wild and unexpected Apple Watch Ultra. There was a range of updates and upgrades to Apple Products, but there are always more features worth digging into. And as of today, the new WatchOS 9 is finally available, too, and it offers four new faces to play with.


The new Watch face called Lunar is easily the most notable. Going beyond the moonphase complication available as a feature on other watch faces, Lunar shows the relationship between the lunar calendar and the familiar (solar) Gregorian calendar. It’s cool for astronomy or horology nerds, but it’s also useful when you want to keep track of, say, Chinese, Islamic or Hebrew holidays.


Metropolitan is a new analog watch face focusing on dynamic design. The indices are stick-shaped until you raise your wrist, at which point they become Arabic numerals. You can play with it by turning the crown and watching the style change. Of course, you can also customize the colors.


There was already a watch face called Astronomy, but now it’s been thoroughly “remastered.” You’ve got the same photo-realistic, three-dimensional models of the Earth, Moon and solar systems, but also new options of displaying a star map and even current cloud data for Earth. A particularly cool feature is that turning the Digital Crown lets you fast-forward and rewind, so to speak, and see astronomical information from the past and future.


Created in collaboration with artist Joi Fulton, Playtime is one of the Watch faces that focus on big, legible digits. Here, each digit is made into a cartoon character with eyes and legs, and you can customize a range of colorful backgrounds. The characters react if you tap on them, and turning the Digital Crown changes the background and animates the (optional) confetti.

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Plus, tweaks to existing faces

In addition to the above new options, other faces got updates, too. The Portraits face now supports pets, and it uses the same features that create the bokeh effect to add tint to background layers of the photos. Some other classic faces have upgraded complications and color editing.