There are times I miss Android……….. but not enough to go back: The Unilateral Apple Wearable Landscape

This is more about some of the add-on’s the Android offers, not anything to do with the OS itself. I’m not going to lie, there are only a small handful of reasons I came back to iOS – iMessage, AirDrop, Apple Pay (always worked better than Google Pay in my experience), and iTunes. I’ve been on iOS devices pretty much since the release – I remember iOS 3.0 being a huge release, and not being able to send MMS messages, and the release of the App Store making the iPhone and iOS what it is today. Now we look at it, 11 years later, and what can we do? Well… it’s easier to ask what we can’t do for the every day user… the desktop is really only something for power users/gamers. The iPad has really pushed itself into being a dominant PC force (PC denoting Personal Computer here as intended in the definition, not to start a Mac v. PC Debate), it spawned the launch of Chrome as an OS and not just a Browser. Really if you look at it, the iPhone launched a whole new era of computing in the modern age!

Android has its advantages though – it’s far more open to developers, the file explorer is an actual file explorer where you can access the roots of your system, you can easily side load apps to do what you want to do, and really what I miss… the 3rd Party Wearable support. Let’s go to another ecosystem that Apple really helped kick off – the Wearables market. The release of the original Apple Watch in 2015 really helped boost this market. In 2014 I had a Pebble watch running (initially) on a Motorola Droid from years prior – only because I had broken my iPhone 5 in an unfortunate “missed my pocket when putting away” incident. For about 6 months I was on Android, and was mildly okay with it – mostly because of their peripheral that I had been given more functionality with. I was back on an iPhone later that year – post release of the iPhone 6, and with that I realized after pairing my Pebble with that, Apple really didn’t let you do much with Smartwatches. I could see notifications only? Why in the world could I not reply to the text that someone had sent me?

Apple released their Smartwatch in April, and in October after pinching some pennies, I sold that Pebble (for close to what I paid for it, too!), and moved over to the Apple Watch. I initially loved the platform and used it for a little over a year, however in January of 2017 I saw a great article about the new Motorola “Moto Z” Flagship line, rave reviews about the camera, and I loved the concept of the “mods,” there was even one with a full optical zoom camera! So when I could, I moved over to Android. Only I didn’t realize that I would be unable to use my Apple Watch with this (or so they say) – because I was flustered, I decided to just sell it, and go get something that worked with Android Wear – I picked up a Samsung Gear Fit. Now, after selling the Apple Watch I found an article all about how to get the Apple Watch working on Android, and regretted my decision, however the Gear Fit had a much better battery life, and much better fitness functionality.

I swear I have a point behind this… the Samsung Gear Fit, while I was on Android was a completely functional device that I could do quite a lot on, read, and reply to messages with an add on, hand off a phone call/answer to speaker phone, etc. And sure when I moved back to iOS after three faulty Moto Z’s, it was still fairly functional as there were a lot of internal applications on it, however any of the cross platform functionality that I had with the Android Device like answering calls, or replying to messages, those were gone. And forget NFC or any of that, even if the Fit had it, it wouldn’t work with Apple Pay.

With the Apple Ecosystem, so long as you stay within that particular device Ecosystem, you’re in good shape, however would it kill them to open up some of the Wear platform to their capabilities? Sure, this lends opening protocols, which in turn could… COULD lead to security issues, but if platforms like Android have been able to do this without significant and consistent issues, is this really such a big deal? Apple is playing into the Mid-Range phone market, not just the high end. They always market their generation old phones even after the new one is released, they introduced the iPhone SE a few years ago, and now they have the iPhone XR as their phone for the average consumer. Opening up their wearables platform could be their next, smart move to target the average consumer… as someone who uses one of, and likes a lot of the other Smartwatches that are on the market as an alternative to the Apple Watch.

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