9to5Mac has detailed a number of changes coming to the Apple Watch user experience to accommodate the new widget system on watchOS 10. Interestingly for Apple Watch Ultra users, one of those changes is especially welcome.
Apple Watch Ultra includes a hardware-exclusive face called Wayfinder. This watch face includes a clock bezel that can display location coordinates as well as elevation data, leveraging the new dual-frequency GPS hardware inside the watch.
Currently, Wayfinder is capable of shifting its standard color mode to an all black and red version:
The biggest and brightest Apple Watch display. The Always‑On Retina display is 2000 nits at its peak and twice as bright as any other Apple Watch. The bigger display provides more room for workout metrics and detail‑packed watch faces. The Wayfinder face lets you rotate the Digital Crown to activate Night Mode for better viewing in low light situations.
As Apple explains, switching between modes is done by spinning the crown. The new widget area uses this input method in watchOS 10.
How does Apple Watch Ultra handle the conflict? Summoning gestures takes the crown, and toggling in and out of Night Mode has been banished to the basement of watch face customization.
It takes many more steps, and that may mean Ultra customers are less likely to use it. On the other hand, displaying Night Mode in the watch face customizer makes it more discoverable than a hidden gesture.
Regardless of which method is preferred, there’s a third mode now that just might make all the shuffling around worth it. Auto Night Mode is new to Apple Watch Ultra in watchOS 10, and how it works is pretty sweet.
Human eyes require no manual mode switching to adjust to different lighting environments. Now Night Mode on Apple Watch Ultra doesn’t either. Auto Night Mode uses Apple Watch Ultra’s ambient light sensor to determine when light levels are low enough that Night Mode would be easier on the eyes.
If it’s not already, this should be the new default setting for an Apple Watch Ultra running watchOS 10. It doesn’t address the complaint that Night Mode only changes the watch face color and nothing else. Hit those new widgets and you might need to blink a little before seeing clearly. Nevertheless, it shows that someone at Apple was interested in taking Night Mode as we knew it and improve how it works.
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