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Telling comparison of San Francisco and Roboto:
Both are heavily influenced by DIN right?
Definitely, but the Roboto vs San Francisco match seems a bit too close for comfort.
Edit: explanation why I'm probing for more as I was probably flagged as a troll but the original commenter :-p
Google and Apple are using house fonts that are heavily based on DIN, probably because DIN fits a lot of the criteria the companies took into consideration when picking a starting point for a watch (contextual constraints like various lighting situations, distance of read, likely screen pixel density, etc).
In Google's case it has been tweaked to be used on a variety of devices down to the very small (watch). In Apple's case, they made this font to be used on the watch only, as far as we know so far.
Based on that assumption, I think both companies have done a great job for the user by designing a font that meets all of the criteria that have set out to meet, instead of differentiating for the sake of differentiation on a 'brand' level.
Speaking of the 'brand' thing, it's also the case that Google's guidelines call for bright, colorful and 'light' feeling backings for text (on Android Wear most notification text would be a dark gray, per their guidelines). For the Apple Watch, it's almost all white on black. The two brands couldn't look much more... um... black and white... next to each other.
I think the users win here. No matter which watch you pick (or both!) you're getting something thoughtfully considered from the designers.
If you overlaid any DIN style font at 18pts it's going to match within 10px as well. Not very close. Though I do think the font looks more android like.
It's more like Apple's original Mac OS 7 font.
First of all, that format is going to make MOST sans-serifs look like they're ripping each other off... 12px black on red? Of course our eye is going to blend the two fonts into a single set of letters and tell us they are the same. For the purposes of comparison, this image is useless.
Secondly, sans serifs designed for readability on small screens SHOULD look the same. That doesn't mean they were designed based on each other, or that one was a starting block for another. It seems likely that similar user research would lead to similar fonts when both are trying to do the same thing.
Thirdly, font design is all about the tiny details. Sure, any idiot with Illustrator could make Roboto slightly more squat, but it takes a long time to make all the details right. I'm sure both Roboto and San Francisco were poured over for ages to make the details right, and this comparison doesn't do justice to those details in the slightest.
This is a fairly standard and well-accepted method for comparing typefaces. I disagree that it's obvious that your "eye is going to blend the two fonts into a single set of letters..."
Why should sans serifs designed for readability on small screens look the same? One can easily see why any two would be similar, but it's not true that all must be.
I don't think the JMD's intention was to say that San Francisco was based off Roboto. He was merely pointing out how similar they are, which makes sense given that they took inspiration from a couple of the same faces.
Furthermore, there wasn't any implication that Apple didn't put time and care into developing the San Francisco.
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