This seems like a pattern emerging for reasons I’m not quite sure of, but in recent years, we learn regularly of Apple projects that might have roped in the billions of Android users across the globe, only to find out that Apple nixed the idea at the last minute. The reason for that cut is obvious, and it almost always boils down to Apple realizing it has people locked into an ecosystem, so opening up to Android would hurt their grander plans.
This week, Bloomberg published an extensive report on the history of the Apple Watch and the big ideas Apple had initially planned for it. Their vision was for a wearable that would become the ultimate health device, which it is close to becoming, although it has taken multiple generations to get there. In that report, there are references to other projects involving the Apple Watch that were heavily invested in yet ultimately cut. And that’s where we come back to Apple and its relationship with Android.
The report suggests that Apple was working to make the Apple Watch and its Health app available to Android users. Under a codename of Project Fennel, with work supposedly nearly complete on the addition of Android support, Apple canceled it. Their reasoning for canceling a project that could have reached millions upon millions of new users was connected to the iPhone and the fact that the Apple Watch helps drive its sales. By letting Android in on the fun, people could have just bought an Apple Watch instead of both the watch and an iPhone.
Like when Apple admitted it wouldn’t bring iMessage to Android because it kept folks locked into their ecosystem of products, someone at the company realized that the value of the Watch to the iPhone was more important in the long run. They are probably right, but for those who love their Google or Samsung devices yet would also like an Apple Watch for its premium technology and design, as well as all of its health features, that’s going to be tough to hear.
Apple doesn’t typically comment on info like this, especially if it was a secret project never meant as public info, so we’ll likely never know the full story. What we do know now, through extensive reporting, is that Apple was strongly considering a move to open up the Apple Watch to Android, but decided at the last minute not to. Dang.
You buying an Apple Watch if it works with your Pixel 8 Pro? You are, right?