Apple brought developer Niantic Labs on stage during its iPhone event in September to announce that Pokemon Go is finally coming to the Apple Watch, and now the watch app is finally out.
The entire experience is geared toward fitness, since the Apple Watch is positioned as a fitness device just as much as it is a smartwatch. Niantic is letting players log each session as a workout, for instance. Here's everything we know about the new watch app, including why it's perfect for the wrist, how it's supposed to work, and when you can get it.
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Pokemon Go: Why is it coming to Apple Watch?
Pokemon Go is about getting up and moving. Players/trainers must move their feet and explore the real world in order to capture Pokemon. However, while the game is capable of logging a players' distance walked and then rewarding them with new Pokemon, there is no way to integrate that same walking data into other health apps - not even Apple's own Health app.
Pokemon Go players who are interested in active and healthy lifestyle choices are likely bummed that they can't play while also accurately track how many steps they've taken or calories they've burned. But the Pokemon Go app for Apple Watch - especially for the Series 2 watch with built-in GPS - changes that. The new app promises to let players track their gameplay as workouts.
Players can even be able to see a calorie counter as they look for nearby Pokemon at a glance. Beyond the obvious advantages for the athletic-minded, having Pokemon Go on the wrist could allow players to be more alert. They no longer have to reach for and open their phones, enabling them to keep their eyes on the road ahead of them rather then their smartphone displays.
Pokemon Go: How does it work on Apple Watch?
Thanks to the brief demo during Apple's Special Event on 7 September, we do know about some of the app's features and functionality.
Pokemon trainers using the standard Pokemon Go app need to walk in order to hatch their eggs. Well, from a complication on the new watch face, they'll be able to see how far they need to walk to hatch eggs.
The main screen in the new watch app shows a trainer's current level - as well as the XP needed to get to the next level.
All walks are recorded as workouts, helping players progress toward their activity goals. It looks like players can end and resume their workout activity from within the new watch app, too.
While walking, players can see how far they've walked and their calories burned. Also, at a glance, they can see which Pokemon are nearby.
Players are alerted when Pokemon appear. Unfortunately, players must still take out their iPhones to actually capture Pokemon.
When players reach a PokeStop, a buzz on their wrists lets them know. They'll see an image of the location along with relevant information about the place. Then, in order to collect items such as potions, they can just swipe on the Apple Watch screen.
Players also get alerts for achievements (like when they earn a gold medal, which they can only get if they visit 2,000 PokeStops).
Players get alerts when their eggs hatch, too, followed by an animation that shows what hatched.
After ending workouts, players see a Summary screen of all their activity, including total distance, time, and active calories. They'll also see all the items they've collected along the way.
Pokemon Go: When can you get it for Apple Watch?
Niantic Labs released Pokemon Go for Apple Watch on 22 December 2016.
Pokemon Go: How can you get it for Apple Watch?
Pokemon Go for Apple Watch is bundled with an update - version 1.21.2, which is now rolling out on the App Store - to Pokemon Go app for iPhone and iPad. This Apple support page details how to find and use apps for Apple Watch.