Apple May Roll Out its New Watch Typeface Across All Devices

By Alissa Walker on at

In welcome news for those of us who couldn’t take another year squinting at that spindly, bad-for-screens typeface, 9 to 5 Mac is reporting that Apple will replace Helvetica Neue with its new San Francisco typeface for all operating systems. This is the font Apple designed in-house for the Watch—and if this is true, it’s going to be SO much better.

According to Mark Gurman, Apple will start refreshing the typeface on iPhones, iPads, and Macs with iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. Although it seems easy, rolling out the new typeface across operating systems is a bit more complicated, especially when you think about everything third-party developers have to go through:

Installing a new system-wide font is also not as simple as it may seem. The change requires Apple to tweak all of its pre-bundled applications across iOS and OS X to fit the new font. It also requires additional quality assurance testing to ensure that the font does not unintentionally alter usability at different font sizes, or across third-party App Store apps. Multiple Apple employees tell us that new daily builds of OS X 10.11 and iOS 9 began including the new font toward the end of March. Apple will likely also push developers to redesign their apps ahead of the new font’s general release this fall.

Even though San Francisco should technically be far more readable than Helvetica Neue, as it was designed specifically to work at small sizes on very tiny screens, some folks still aren’t convinced that it’s better for everyone. Those without retina displays will still see a version of the typeface that some say is less clean than Helvetica.

Although officially we’ll have to wait to judge the results, if you want an unauthorised preview, you can try it right now to see for yourself.

[9 to 5 Mac]

Top image by Wells Riley on Github