The Apple Watch “Today’s Date” complication is the stupidest bit of skeuomorphism in years

Although I hadn’t worn a watch in about 15 years, I quickly embraced the Apple Watch when it first became available, and I have now owned 4 or 5 of them (seriously, I’ve lost count), culminating in my current Apple Watch Series 8 with cellular. It is a brilliant piece of technology. But there is one thing I think is absolutely stupid.


No, not the whole watch face, which I rather like. I mean this:

Watches are an at-a-glance device. Even though the micro-apps on its face are called “complications,” there should not be anything complicated about using them. But the corner “Today’s Date” complication is JUST SO FREAKING STUPID.

If I want to know today’s date, I want to know today’s date. And I want to be able to discern it from an instantaneous flit of my eyes down to my wrist. Unfortunately, the design of this complication utterly fails at that simple task for two reasons.

First, the current date number itself is too small, and it’s in reversed type, which reduces its legibility significantly. With my aging eyes, I need to do various contortions to just register what it reads.

But it’s worse than that, because the reason it’s so small (and, arguably, why it has the weird reversed design), is because the complication is apparently intended to look like one of those old mechanical watches that had an inner dial numbered 1 to 31 that would rotate daily. It also shows the numbers for yesterday and tomorrow. I do not need this information. I know how to count. If today is the 11th, I can quickly glean from that information that yesterday was the 10th and tomorrow is the 12th. In fact, I could do those feeble mental gymnastics much faster than I can confidently read, on this design, that today is the 11th.

If Apple weren’t wasting, effectively, over half of this complication’s screen space with superfluous adjacent numbers, it could have made today’s date considerably larger and easier to read. And, it wouldn’t need to be in reversed type that reduces its legibility.

I just wish someone could explain to me what possible rationale they had for designing it this way… so I could respond with vitriol.

Quick, what day is it?

It could be like this!