Last month a developer managed to hack together a solution that enabled iPhone users to see their notifications on Google’s Android-powered wearable operating system, but at the moment there is no official way to use the two competing platforms together. That could change at Google’s annual I/O conference later this year, if new rumors are to be believed.
According to French tech blog 01Net, Google is developing an update to Android Wear that would enable it work with Apple’s iOS devices…
With Apple launching its own smartwatch in April, Google’s developer conference at the end of May could serve as the start of a much more heated war of wearables. Mountain View would be bringing the fight directly to Cupertino, especially given the fact that the latter plans to market the Apple Watch by highlighting its connection to the iPhone as a main selling point. Providing a potentially cheaper alternative that comes in even more styles than Apple’s offering could provide Google with a big leg-up over its rival.
Even if Google does truly launch such a bold new offensive by bringing iOS support to the ever-growing lineup of Android Wear devices, to say that it’s highly unlikely Apple will follow suit and introduce Android support to the Apple Watch would be a massive understatement.
Apple will be pitching its watch and phone as a package deal where both devices are required to get the full experience. To suddenly change course and start selling the watch as the perfect companion for any smartphone would undermine the effectiveness of the whole campaign.
Still, for those willing to forgo the unique features the Apple Watch offers—heartbeat messaging, animated emojis, and a wide variety of software bundled with iPhone apps—Android Wear could provide a decent alternative for getting notifications and managing basic phone features like calls and email.
Since it’s unlikely that opening up Android Wear to other smartphone platforms would put a big dent in Android handset sales, Google isn’t missing out on much with this change, but is potentially gaining an entire new segment of the market: iOS users who wouldn’t buy an Android phone, but aren’t sold on the price or look of the Apple Watch.
If the rumors turn out to be false and Google isn’t planning to welcome iPhone users to the world of Android Wear, perhaps it’s time to start considering it.