The last couple of months have been pretty big for smartwatches. Google launched Wear OS 3 with the help of Samsung, whose next-gen Galaxy Watch4 series is the best it's ever been. Meanwhile, we got our first glimpse of the Apple Watch Series 7 this week, which — while probably not of interest to most of our readership — will undoubtedly become the highest-selling smartwatch of 2022. It's two radically different design philosophies, and it has us wondering about future designs for Wear OS-powered gadgets.
Apple announced the seventh iteration of its famous Watch today. The design and signature look remain, despite many small adjustments, but the biggest improvement that Apple touted is a 20% larger display compared to the previous Series 6. Looking at that big, beautiful screen, then glancing down at the Galaxy Watch 4 on my wrist, I couldn't help but sigh and wonder, once more, why we couldn't have more choice in the Android world. I would love to have a rectangular watch running Wear OS.
Time is relative. Sometimes 10 minutes can seem like forever, but other times it's the blink of an eye and that pot you have in the kitchen is boiling over. Setting timers can prevent that, but what if you need more than one? That wasn't an option on the Apple Watch until now. At WWDC, Apple casually mentioned that multiple timers are coming to its wearable.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Last weekend, I made my way over to the Westfield Century City Mall for a fresh pair of glasses — and an iPhone. I walked over to the Apple Store, talked to the very nice gentleman at the door... and was turned away because I didn't have an appointment to spend nearly $800. I was told I could come spend a whole lot of money, but that I'd have to wait four hours to do so. Then, I did what I should have before I set foot out the door that morning, and opened Chrome to the Apple website on my Galaxy S21 Ultra, bought the iPhone, and set it for pickup at store I'd just turned tail from — for just an hour from the current time.
Google has just announced the launch of a YouTube Music app for the Apple Watch. For folks keeping score at home, that means the streaming service all Google Music users are being forced to migrate to has debuted support for Apple's wearable platform before Google's own Wear OS. This makes the company's priorities pretty clear from where we're standing.
Every year, around Apple WWDC time, I like taking off my Android geek and fan cap, putting it aside, and enjoying what our friends-slash-rivals from Cupertino are doing for their users. While a few years ago, I might've enjoyed discussions about which OS was superior, these days I'm mellower and more pragmatic. iOS has borrowed a lot from Android and continues to do so, and vice-versa. The two ecosystems have a mutually beneficial rivalry and keep pushing themselves further, and in doing so keep pushing each other too.
That's why I have fun watching WWDC's main keynote. I expect Apple to implement a few features that I've been wanting on Android for years, and to add a few innovative and obvious options that I never knew I needed but now can't get out of my head.
You would think that smartwatch shipments fell sharply this year due to many people being confined to their homes during lockdown orders, but the market is alive and well with a 12% growth compared to last year's first quarter, according to Canalys. However, the news isn't great for every player: Apple's and Fitbit's share annual growth turned negative while Huawei, Samsung, and Garmin are the winners of Q1 2020.
Smartwatches as a concept are not something I've ever really been able to get into. It turns out that's mostly because they're all pretty terrible — once you've tried an Apple Watch.
Two years ago, I tried using an iPhone as my full-time smartphone for the first time ever. I wasn't a complete iOS novice — I've owned iPads in the past — but it was the first time I'd actually had to live inside Apple's walled garden. There were a lot of things I didn't like about the experience, and many of them still hold true today. But the Apple Watch was new territory for me.
Xiaomi today announced the Mi Note 10 with a 108MP camera, but it also took the stage to introduce its first smartwatch based on its own custom Wear OS interface, the Mi Watch. Its software and exterior do look quite similar to the Apple Watch, although the device's edges are much blockier. Other than that, it's pretty much standard Wear OS hardware sporting a Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and LTE connectivity.
Apple just announced its fifth-generation Apple Watch, and no surprise, it puts Google's Wear OS ecosystem to shame. Even with a headstart on wearables, Google has made such slow progress that Apple easily dominates the market. With the Series 5, Apple has adopted one of the last features that set Wear OS apart. We've waited years for Wear OS to click, and it's simply not happening. It's time for Google to rethink its approach to Wear OS before it slides completely into irrelevance.