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Apple Watch support for Android was tantalisingly close – report

Apple seriously considered making its Apple Watch product line compatible with Android phones before scrapping the idea, according to a new report.

The reliable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman’s sources claim some at Apple were on board with the idea, but ultimately the fear it may cannibalise iPhone sales won the day.

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The undisputed leader of the smartwatch market is famously Android-averse and requires the companion iPhone ‘Watch’ app to set up the timepiece.

However, because there are parts of the world where Apple has a very minimal market share, the opportunities to sell Apple Watches are practically non existent.

The claim comes within a wider article about Apple’s efforts to make the Apple Watch an essential health device, both for fitness and monitoring ailments. The efforts to make these benefits more universal is where the discussions on Android compatibility began.

“For a time, Apple engineers were also deeply engaged in an effort to make the watch and Health app compatible with the billions of Android devices in circulation,” Gurman wrote on November 1.

He added: “The move, codenamed Project Fennel, would have brought the company’s health features — and the health benefits Apple has repeatedly underlined — to many more people, especially in countries where Apple has little market share. But other business considerations prevailed: The work was nearly complete when Project Fennel was canceled, in part because the Apple Watch is a driver of iPhone sales. “If you gave up the watch to Android, you would dilute the value of the watch to the iPhone,” said someone with knowledge of the decision.”

Apple is still thought to be closing in on some major health tracking milestones for the next-generation Apple Watch X. Bloomberg reckons the 2024 model will include blood pressure monitoring as well as sleep apnea and hypertension detection.

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