Those of you who own an iPhone and want to own a smartwatch other than Apple Watch will be overjoyed to learn that Google has heard your woes and made Android Wear compatible with iPhone.
That's right. Your iPhone will now work with any Android Wear watch. With such functionality, you can pair both devices and start receiving notifications from your favourite iPhone apps directly on your Android Wear watch. You'll even be able to conduct "Ok Google" voice searches from your wrist.
There are of course some limitations - but we've described everything you need to know below.
What is Android Wear and does it require a phone?
Android Wear is a version of the Android operating system designed for smartwatches and wearables. It launched in 2014 and runs on the following list of devices: Motorola Moto 360, LG Watch Urbane, Asus ZenWatch, Samsung Gear Live, Sony SmartWatch 3, LG G Watch R, and LG G Watch.
Keep in mind some Android Wear features only work if your watch is connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Android Wear watches are basically always-on accessories to your phone, running similar apps and notifications that work across both devices. They can work offline a bit when unpaired, but uses are limited.
Until recently, Android Wear only worked with a phone running Android 4.3 or higher (that supports Bluetooth).
Now, however, it also works with iPhone.
When will Android Wear support iPhone?
Google has announced that Android Wear is now compatible with the iPhone 5 or later running at least iOS 8.2.
An official Android Wear for iOS companion app is rolling out on the App Store worldwide. The app helps you connect your iPhone to your Android Wear watch. Then, once paired, you’ll begin receiving notifications from iPhone apps on your Android Wear watch. The app also lets you configure your notifications and the wearable itself.
How does iPhone work with Android Wear?
Once you pair your iPhone with an Android Wear watch, you'll be able to see certain information at a glance, such as phone calls, messages, and notifications from iPhone apps. And since Android Wear watches have always-on displays, you won't have to move your wrist to wake up your watch.
Android Wear for iOS basically mirrors notifications currently displayed on your iPhone’s lock screen. You won't be able to reply to an iMessage or Hangouts message from your Android Wear watch, but once you receive the notification, your watch will prompt you to open the iPhone app to reply.
Not only will you receive app notifications after pairing your iPhone to an Android Wear watch, but you'll also receive information from Google Now, including stuff like traffic alerts, weather, and flight status. Your Android Wear watch will also pipe timely tips (like when to leave for appointments and current traffic info).
You can say “Ok Google” to start a voice search. Ask questions like “Is it going to rain?” - or create reminders/to-dos.
Your Android Wear watch can track your running and walking as well as measure your heart rate, and when paired with an iPhone, will still let you set fitness goals. It'll also provide daily and weekly views of your progress.
Are there limitations?
Yes. The biggest one is that the 4,000+ available third-party Android Wear apps won't work if you're using your Android Wear watch with an iPhone. Users will only be able to use apps developed by Google, such as Weather and Translate.
Will iPhone pair with any Android Wear watch?
As of today, Google said Android Wear for iOS works with the LG Watch Urbane. But the company confirmed all future Android Wear watches - including ones Huawei, Asus, and Motorola - will add support.
Android Wear for iOS does not officially support other existing Android Wear smartwatches, including the Moto 360, but some users have reported they can get it to work after doing a factory reset.
Want to know more?
Check out Google's blog post for more details.