The underwhelming reality of WatchOS 10 Smart Stack widgets

One of the most touted features of watchOS 10 was the introduction of Smart Stack widgets. But how useful are they, really?

WatchOS 10, Apple’s latest software update for its smartwatches, was met with much fanfare. One of its new features are something called Smart Stack widgets. These widgets were created to provide a quick and easy way to access information directly from the watch face. However, after some time with this new feature, users have reported a variety of experiences, indicating that Smart Stack widgets may not be the game changer Apple hoped for.

What are Smart Stack widgets, exactly?

Before delving into user experiences, it’s important to understand what Smart Stack widgets are and how they work. These widgets aim to provide users with quick access to essential information directly from any watch face. Turning the Digital Crown reveals a stack-like interface with various cards that can be customised to some extent. The goal of this feature is to provide a more efficient way of accessing data without having to sift through multiple apps or screens.

Apple Widgets

User reactions: A mixed bag

The good

Smart Stack widgets have proven to be quite useful for some users. These people value the ability to access frequently used apps without having to clutter their watch face with multiple complications. The feature provides a cleaner aesthetic while remaining functional.

The not-so-good

Despite positive feedback, the Smart Stack widgets have not been universally embraced. The oversized clock widget that takes up a significant portion of the Smart Stack interface is one of the most common complaints. This design decision has been chastised for being unnecessary and wasting valuable screen real estate.

watchos 10 widgets

Furthermore, users have stated that the crown’s double-tap functionality, which allowed quick access to the last app used, is sorely missed. Some users have reported unsmooth animations, especially when navigating to the “task manager” screen, which detracts from the overall user experience.

The ugly

The most serious issue, however, is the lack of customization options. Users have discovered that the number of widgets available for inclusion in the Smart Stack is disappointingly limited. For many, the weather widget has been the only widget worth including.

Flaws in design and interface redundancy

Smart Stack also has some design flaws and interface redundancies that need to be addressed. Users, for example, have labelled the Swipe Up + Crown Up gesture as redundant. Also, there’s a growing demand for the ability to map the side button to open the widgets, which would offer a more intuitive way to access this feature.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The Smart Stack widgets concept is undeniably appealing. At least in theory. However, the current implementation leaves much to be desired. While the feature aims to improve the efficiency and usability of the Apple Watch experience, it falls short in several key areas, including limited customization options and design flaws.

While it is too early to predict the future of Smart Stack widgets, one can hope that Apple listens to user feedback. This feature has the potential to become a cornerstone of the Apple Watch experience, but it will require careful redesign and more robust customization options.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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