In our article, “Will the iPhone be compatible with the Moto 360“, we quickly went through and discussed why the iPhone and the Moto 360 wouldn’t mix.
Originally, the idea was that Google, who typically releases their goodies on more than one platform was focusing on building up the Android platform only. I can now say that this thought wasn’t the best response to the situation. As it turns out, back in October, news broke that Google was actually interested in bringing Android Wear to iOS. But guess what? The walled garden that is Apple has the control and would need to extend special APIs to Google in order to get Android Wear to work.
Google’s Senior Product Manager, Jeff Chang noted that “It’s not always completely up to us right? There are technical constraints and API constraints so we are trying really hard. We would love to have Android Wear reach as many people as possible, but I’ll just say that it’s not 100 percent under our control” While discussing the option of expanding Android Wear to multiple platforms.
Sadly, it makes sense for Apple not to offer their iOS users choice of smartwatches outside of their own ecosystem. With the exception of consumer happiness, Apple stands to gain nothing from such a trade off. This becomes even more true when you take into consideration that Apple plans on launching their own smartwatch, the Apple Watch within the next few months.
All for the before mentioned is to simply capitalize on this one point: there’s iOS users out their who want Android Wear. There’s one users out there who wanted it so bad that he found a hack to make it happen.
The Guy Who Mixed Android Wear and the iPhone
Inspired by Pebble’s notification framework (ANSC) integration of Android Wear APIs for their smartwatch variant, a developer by the name of Mohammed Abu-Garbeyyeh too it one step further. Mohammed took the very same frame work and tweaked it so that the iPhone’s iOS could send push notifications to the Android Wear smartwatch in the same fashion that the Pebble smartwatch is able to get notifications from the iPhone and other iOS products.
Why didn’t Google do this first?
It’s now obvious as the sun is in plain daylight that there’s some functionality that can be crossed over from between the likes of the Moto 360’s Android wear OS and the iPhone’s iOS. So how come Google didn’t release an update with added support for the iOS family knowing that Apple is gearing up to launch their own smartwatch?
The answer, in my opinion is very simple. Google can’t get the full functionality of Android Wear to work with iOS unless Apple extends private APIs that will allow Google to take control over the phone’s core functionality. We’ve seen Apple unfairly using private APIs in their own Apps found on the App Store, so we know that it’s more than possible.
If Google were to release an Android Wear version that could only support push notifications, iOS users will only have that functionality to compared to the functionality of the upcoming Apple Watch. Some may think it’s more important to get a limited functional watch out before Apple makes their move, but I think it’s a more mature decision to do thing the proper way.
I honestly don’t think that a fully functional Android Wear devices can lose out to what we know the Apple Watch to be outside of personal aesthetic preferences.
How to get Android Wear to work with your iPhone
The things that are needed to get any Android Wear devices working with your iPhone is the following:
- An iPhone
- An Android Wear smartwatch
- An Android phone for initial set up
- A custom app built by Mohammed that installs on Android Wear
The only thing that’s not publicly available from the list is the custom app. The developer says that he’s working on releasing the app as soon as possible. In the meantime, it’s probably best to add patience to the list of things needed to get Android Wear working with your iPhone.