Apple relatively silent on Apple Watch and OS X compatibility

AppleWatchYesterday’s announcement and demonstration of Apple Watch has brought to light a number of rumors and ongoing speculation about what Apple has been hiding up its sleeve, and while Apple has not yet revealed everything about its new device, it has been relatively silent about its compatibility with OS X. In fact, in yesterday’s discussion of Apple Watch, Apple barely even gave a head-nod to the Mac.

As part of the development of iOS 8 and Yosemite, Apple has been touting cross-platform features like accepting calls on your Mac from a paired iOS 8 iPhone, or using Handoff to transfer workflows seamlessly between OS X and iOS devices; however, when it comes to the iWatch, while Apple has noted how well it plays with your iPhone, there has been no talk about its uses with OS X alone.

One might expect that being a bluetooth device that can handle Maps, Contacts, Mail, and other details, one might be able to use it for its mobile offerings and then sync them with your Mac, or perhaps have some sort of live feedback from your Mac, such as serving as a remote for iTunes, or displaying photo streams from iPhoto. However, these details have not even been mentioned by Apple.

So we are left with the question: How will Apple Watch work with OS X?

Unfortunately, for now we simply do not know. The lack of an answer on this may simply be from Apple concentrating on the more up-front uses of the Apple Watch for now, where because of its shared mobile services, the interoperability with the iPhone is a more obvious discussion point. However, these points along with the developments between Yosemite and iOS 8 suggest one possible route: Apple is shifting the iPhone to be the center of our computing universes.

Apple Watch and iPhone 6

Apple has touted interoperability between the iPhone and Apple Watch, but has not mentioned such functionality with OS X (Image Credit: Apple).

When Apple announced the interoperability features between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, it seemed much of the effort was to share the workflow of these two operating systems between Mac OS and iOS devices, and while this still may largely be the case, with the Apple Watch it appears instead that Apple’s focus on your main computing device is the iPhone. One example of this is how calls will be handled, where instead of seeing iOS and OS X as sharing this service, it may be more accurate to see calls being taken on the iPhone that are then only displayed on your Mac.

Granted in this case, phone service is inherent with the iPhone so it is only natural for them to then be shared with other devices, but the same goes for Wi-Fi access, and application services like Handoff, or Photo, Calendar, and other content, where Apple appears to be syncing either between your Mac and iPhone, or between Apple Watch and iPhone, as opposed to between Apple Watch and your Mac.

Apple Watch will be released in early 2015, so we have a number of months for Apple to reveal any direct syncing features between Apple Watch and OS X, but as it stands it appears Apple’s focus is turned to having the iPhone be the center of our digital universe, with the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and even the Mac OS being useful but peripheral accessories.

What do you think about the Apple Watch? Will it ultimately be a device that can work with your Mac without the iPhone as a middleman? Will you be getting one? Lets hear your ideas in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Apple relatively silent on Apple Watch and OS X compatibility

  1. xAirbusdriver

    I haven’t worn a “watch” regularly since I left the Air Force in 1973. It was required when I was working as a pilot but when I got out of my uniform, the watch stayed with it. With my narrow, age induced perspective, I use no useful purpose in an iWatch. LOL! At least as long as I have a smart phone.

  2. Tim Kearn

    As a left hander – no! 🙂
    But good article in regards to the compatibility.

  3. xAirbusdriver

    Must have been that “age induced” thing… “I use no useful purpose” should read “I see no useful purpose”. …stupid computer keyboard… :headbash:

  4. darkdreamer4u

    I’ve always worn a watch and my preferred side to wear it is my right…
    As to the Apple Watch and OSX: the whole event yesterday was clearly a sales pitch for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for the upcoming holiday season. And thus, of course, the focus of the Apple Watch was on the iPhone as an additional sales argument. I’m sure, later on we will find out that the Apple Watch can play nicely with Yosemite.

  5. Ephraim Fithian

    iPhone 6 has enough new features to try to use. It is good that the Apple Watch will not be available until next year. One thing at a time.

  6. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    I think the Apple phone’s Achilles Heel will be the required link between it an the iPhone. How dependent will it actually be on the iPhone? Can it even tell time without the iPhone feeding it data? Other than as a heart monitor, what can the watch do that a smartphone cannot?

    Given that it will require an iPhone 6 or 6 plus, the adoption rate of the Apple phone will necessarily be slow. That’s probably a good thing; it will give Apple time to work out the inevitable bugs that will plague the first editions before they inconvenience a large number of users.

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