When Apple launched the Watch, it also designed a new system font to go with it: San Francisco. The font has been specially designed to combine a clean look with readability on the Apple Watch’s small screen.
We exclusively revealed last week that Apple has no plans to limit San Francisco to the watch – it is considering adopting the new typeface for Mac, iPhone and iPad instead. San Francisco is expected to replace Helvetica Neue as part of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11. Designer Wenting Zhang presents the font in a look at “the beautiful details of character shapes that are often overlooked” …
The Detail type project is aimed at fans of typography, so you won’t find an explanation of the technical terms used in visual analysis, but it does reveal some of the details that make San Francisco easy to read, even in very small formats.
One of the keys to readability is what is described as the great height of x: lowercase letters are about 75% of the height of uppercase, which makes lowercase letters taller than in a regular font. The “eye” of letters like e and a – the space between the tail and the rest of the letter – is also larger than usual.
The site shows what the font looks like in a range of sizes, weights, and styles, and says it’s similar to Open Sans and Arial.
Don’t expect too many new features in iOS 9 or OS X 10.11: Multiple sources tell our Mark Gurman that both updates will focus more on quality and stability than core features. If you don’t want to wait for OS X 10.11, you can download a modified version of the font now and install it as a system font in Yosemite.
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