All told, Android Wear for iOS should work almost the same as it does for Android phones. You’ll get notifications from your favorite Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Now, as well as Apple’s Calendar, Google Fit, the weather, alarm, agenda, Translate and so forth. It’ll work with voice queries and you can change the watch face just as you can with the Android app. According to Google, you don’t need to have any of these apps installed; they’re all built into the iOS app itself (We’re guessing that you’ll be asked to login with your Google credentials and it’ll go from there). Any third party app notifications that show up on your iPhone will also show on the watch. However, if you want true native third party app syncing, apparently that’s still in the works.
This could be good for consumers and for Android Wear watch sales. Consumers who use iOS can chose additional watches, and Android Wear watches can now reach an expanded market. The bigger the market for smartwatches and wearables, the faster they’ll improve. Three big questions, however:
- How many iPhone users will opt for an Android Wear watch? The reason to do so would be: price, fashion, utility (e.g., always-on display, cellular connectivity), or custom watch faces (for either fashion or utility purposes).
- How good can iOS interoperability get over time? Today, iOS interoperability is fairly constrained. And though it may remain so, the nature of those constraints will likely evolve. Google’s ability to utilize iOS can improve, too. Finally, Android Wear developers can now try and impress a new set of customers.
- Will Android Wear OEMs take specific action to capitalize on this? For them, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it means more consumers can buy their watches. (Swatch, for instance, is probably quite pleased right now.) On the other hand, since most of the OEMs are smartphone makers, they’re giving consumers fewer reasons to buy an Android smartphone. Would they dare advertise this benefit? Can you imagine a Samsung or Motorola ad that highlights iOS compatibility? We’ll see.
These are all questions and possibilities. Let’s check back and see how this really develops.