Apple Watch on Android would create choice, but it wouldn't shake up the market

Apple says it explored compatibility for three years before scrapping plans
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Apple has claimed it spent three years attempting to bring the Apple Watch to Android, before scrapping the plans due to technical limitations. 

This rare insight into Apple's behind-the-scenes process was confirmed to 9to5Mac as part of the response to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) antitrust case, counteracting the government's argument that the Apple Watch is used to uphold the company's smartphone monopoly in the US.

In the lawsuit, the DOJ notes that "it becomes more costly for [the] user to purchase a different kind of smartphone because doing so requires the user to abandon their costly Apple Watch and purchase a new, Android-compatible smartwatch".

In response, Apple - who plans to move to dismiss the case – confirmed for the first time that it's already explored and dropped the idea of Android support for the Apple Watch. 

However, the notion of technical issues acting as the downfall of Apple Watch Android support contradicts previous rumors.

In a 2023 report from Bloomberg, it's suggested that Apple's exploration - internally known as 'Project Fennel' - was scrapped close to completion because of "business considerations".

“If you gave up the watch to Android, you would dilute the value of the watch to the iPhone,” said someone with knowledge of the decision to the outlet at the time. 

Stay tuned over the coming months - we're sure more tidbits like this will trickle out.

Wareable says:

WareableApple claims it spent three years trying to bring the Apple Watch to Android photo 2

We'll likely never know the true extent to which Apple's plans for Android support were scrapped due to technical problems or business reasons. As it pertains to the wider smartwatch landscape, we don't necessarily think it matters. 

After all, Apple's walled-garden approach isn't the reason for the Apple Watch's success over the last decade. The company has spent a decade producing best-in-class smartwatches while its theoretical rival, Wear OS, was largely neglected by Google.

You could argue that opening up the Apple Watch to Android users would have a detrimental effect on Android-compatible smartwatch sales.

However, the DOJ's case - that the company's approach also leads to less consumer choice - is hard to argue with, and we would welcome any outcome that saw even limited Android support enabled by Apple.

Of course, it's also important to point out the wider context here, too.

Google/Android has adopted the same closed-off phone compatibility over the last few years, with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, Google Pixel Watch 2, and other modern Wear OS watches all incompatible with the iPhone. We would love to see Google reverse this, as well.

Ultimately, we're still in the very early stages of the DOJ vs. Apple case - and nobody knows where it'll leave devices like the Apple Watch - but change appears to be on the cards.

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Conor Allison


Conor joined Wareable in 2017, quickly making a name for himself by testing out language translation earbuds on a first date, navigating London streets in a wearable airbag, and experiencing skydiving in a VR headset.

Over the years, he has evolved into a recognized wearables and fitness tech expert. Through Wareable’s instructional how-to guides, Conor helps users maximize the potential of their gadgets, and also shapes the conversation in digital health and AI hardware through PULSE by Wareable.

As an avid marathon runner, dedicated weightlifter, and frequent hiker, he also provides a unique perspective to Wareable’s in-depth product reviews and news coverage.

In addition to his contributions to Wareable, Conor’s expertise has been featured in publications such as British GQ, The IndependentDigital Spy, Pocket-lint, The Mirror, WIRED, and Metro.

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