Google was the first major tech company to enter the wearables market with its Android Wear platform. Like the Apple Watch, Android Wear devices (which are made by a variety of third party electronics manufacturers) have only been compatible with Android. Google changes all that by making Android Wear iPhone compatible.
The Verge's Dieter Bohn broke the story.
Very few people have had to bother grappling with the idea of notifications and computers on their wrists, because not all that many people are buying smartwatches. There’s a real sense that everybody’s waiting to see how things shake out, and I don’t blame them. Smartwatches aren’t really ready for everybody yet, not the way that smartphones are. But the smartphone comparison is apt: nothing drove innovation in that space faster than healthy competition between Apple and Google. If competition is what it takes to get smartwatches ready for the mainstream, even Apple Watch users should be glad about Android Wear coming to the iPhone.
Bohn is correct that smartwatches have not exactly sold all that well. While the Apple Watch has likely outsold all its competitors combined, Apple's wearable sales are small potatoes compared to the iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Google has had similar trouble selling Android Wear, but it now has a new strategy.
The app should be rolling out worldwide soon. It’s been a long time coming — and it means that Google will be challenging the Apple Watch on its home turf. Those Android Wear watches will be both cheaper and more varied than the Apple Watch — just like Android itself.
The iOS Android Wear app will allow newer watches to pair directly with an iPhone. The strategy borrows from Apple's playbook. In 2001, the iPod began as an Apple only device, but soon the Cupertino company made a version of iTunes for Windows. The strategy not only sold a whole lot more iPods, but it got Apple devices into peoples' homes. The iPod, and the iPhone in 2007, were huge Trojan horses. These devices encouraged customers to migrate to Apple's iPad and Mac computers. Is Google trying to do the same thing? Perhaps. The Android Wear experience is more limited on iOS than Android, due to Apple's restrictions. But, by providing a glimpse of what Android Wear can do on iOS, iPhone users could be swayed into converting to an Android phone to get the full experience.
The problem is that there are restrictions in iOS that prevent certain things from working. It’s easy (and partially true) to rail against the locked-down nature of the iPhone, but in our conversations, everybody at Google demurred from wishing they could do more. Instead, Google just worked with the tools that Apple makes available over Bluetooth — and they turn out to be quite powerful.
Now that Android Wear and Pebble both support iOS and Android, the Apple Watch has some clear disadvantages. Android Wear devices are varied in both design and price - with many models being priced at half the cost of Apple's entry level watch. If the Apple Watch is supposed to be the next runaway product that moves users toward the Apple ecosystem, it too might have to support other platforms in the future.
Source: The Verge