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San Francisco: Apple stretches and compresses its fonts

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Have you noticed that the typography of the keynote opening day of WWDC 2022, and even more of the Platforms State of the Union, was more varied than usual? Apple has surreptitiously introduced three new variations of its San Francisco font, one more condensed, one downright compressed, and one downright relaxed.

The new widths of SF Pro. Apple picture.

With its nine weights and four widths, not to mention its optical sizes and rounded declination, the SF Pro font offers great flexibility. The iOS 16 lock screen thickens or rounds the numbers making up the time, while the dial Megalopolis of watchOS 9 plays on compression and stretching. The WWDC 2022 communication media combine all the characteristics to punctuate the composition without ever breaking the family resemblance.

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San Francisco understands characters from 150 languages ​​in Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts. Apple, however, offers a version specific to the naskh script of the Arabic alphabet, called SF Arabic, also available in nine weights and a rounded version. The dial Typographer of the Apple Watch and the widgets of the iPhone give a good overview of the possibilities. Starting this Thursday, designers will be able to follow a session dedicated to composition in the Arabic alphabet.

SF Arabic. Apple picture.

These new features go hand in hand with the redesign of the Font Book in macOS Ventura, rewritten with a lot of SwiftUI to present fonts in a more graphic way. This is necessary to accommodate the four fonts of the San Francisco family (SF Pro, SF Compact, SF Mono, and SF Arabic), and their serif cousin New York.

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