Remember that report that claimed Google was preparing to make the Android Wear platform compatible with iOS? Yeah, that might not go down as smoothly as you had hoped. There's still no official word on Wear for iOS, but the latest news out of the Apple camp has disturbing implications. According to one developer over on the official Pebble Watch forum, Apple is rejecting apps from its App Store simply for mentioning Pebble wearable support.


Apple's developer agreement forbids the mention of "any other mobile platform" in both the iOS App Store description and the metadata of the app itself. The developer of nautical navigation app SeaNavUS found this out the hard way when Apple refused to publish the latest app update. The reason?

We noticed that your app or its metadata contains irrelevant platform information in the app. Providing future platform compatibility plans, or other platform references, is not appropriate for the App Store.
Specifically, your app and app description declare support for thePebble Smartwatch.

SeaNavUS is not a new iOS app, and according to the developer's forum post, it has included Pebble support for almost two years. (There is no Android version, in case you're wondering.) The obvious implication of Apple's refusal is that the company is protecting its new Apple Watch platform by subtly denying access to developers who support competing platforms... despite the fact that Pebble, which is compatible with both iOS and Android, has been around for much longer than both Android Wear and the Apple Watch.

screen568x568 screen568x568 (1) screen568x568 (2)

Apple's passive-aggressive rejection didn't actually say that supporting Pebble will get you kicked off the App Store. Technically it's just the mention of that support in the app description that's the problem. (An iOS app was similarly rejected just for mentioning the fact that the corresponding Android app won a developer challenge way back in 2010.) It's possible that the developer could simply re-submit SeaNavUS to the App Store, removing the mention of Pebble but keeping the wearable functionality intact, and have it pass muster.


I wouldn't hold my breath for this.

But even if that turns out to be the case, things look bleak for Android Wear on iOS. Being cross-platform would allow Google and its hardware partners to sell watches to more than 90% of smartphone buyers, a competitive advantage that Apple's iOS-only Apple Watch couldn't match. Apple hasn't been shy about kicking Google software out of the App Store before, so it wouldn't be surprising at all if it refused to publish a version of the Android Wear companion app. Given the general nature of these things, it's possible that Google may submit Android Wear to the iOS App Store and have it rejected without ever telling anyone - or indeed, they may have done so already.