Over the course of a few years, Apple’s famous iterative improvements took root, and iPod and iTunes became a thing. Then, iTunes Music Store. Then, iPod for Windows with USB. The rest is history. iPod evolved and at one time had revenue that rivaled the Mac.
How did that happen? Incrementally, my dear Watson. iPod went from niche and Mac only to worldwide and Windows. As of now, just over three years after Apple Watch went public, Watch still remains married to iPhone. Watch is an iPhone accessory. In fact, you can’t even set up a new Watch without iPhone.
Watch could divorce iPhone.
Why? Let’s say that just over one of every four smartphones is an iPhone. Do the math. Apple Music runs on Android. iTunes runs on Windows. Don’t you think it’s time for Apple to set Watch free so it can run on the other 75-percent of the smartphone user base?
Uh, not so fast.
First, Watch is an iPhone accessory but it doesn’t have to be. Apple has a few Windows and Android apps so it’s not as if there’s no cross platform experience in Cupertino. While that 75-percent Android chunk of the smartphone market looks attractive, Apple plays in the premium segment along with Samsung, Google, and a few other brands, so the Android market of customers that would be interest in Apple Watch is smaller than that. Much smaller.
Second, Watch has caught on, and with new models that feature built-in electrocardiogram support in addition to exercise tracking and a heart rate monitor, Apple has a bona fide hit on its hands.
So, why bother to set Watch free? After all, Watch is sufficiently attractive to customers that the requirement to buy an iPhone to use Watch seems to bode well for Apple.
Then again, there is at least another 25-percent of the Android smartphone market that might have an interest in Watch. All Apple would need to do is to develop an application so Watch can be setup on other devices; wirelessly, of course.
The major problem seems to be the wide variety of third party applications that run on iOS and watchOS. I counted about 18 Apple apps on my Watch and and two dozen more third party apps. Would Android app developers make apps compatible with Watch?
I don’t think so and that’s a problem. Apple would need to make Android OS versions of nearly 18 different applications on Watch. More popular third party apps would need to show up on Watch, too.
The more I look at the situation the more I realize that Watch and iPhone were made for each other an any full on divorce would just be messy. Watch itself is just too small to handle its own setup, so there must be a standalone app to do the deed. Apple has that already in iPhone but to make a complete break to Android would require many applications.
Would be and wannabe Watch customers might want a complete divorce, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.