The upcoming Montblanc Summit 3 will not only run Wear OS 3, but it will be the first smartwatch on the new unified platform to support iOS – sort of.
The news — initially reported by wareable — was attached to The edge by Qualcomm spokesman Lauren Miller. The Summit 3 isn’t the first smartwatch to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform, but it’s the first to launch with Wear OS 3 already installed. The fact that it also supports iOS is significantly different from other confirmed Wear OS 3 watches. For example, the lineup of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the upcoming Google Pixel Watch are exclusive to Android users.
Older Wear OS 2 and Samsung Tizen-powered smartwatches, while never incredibly popular with iPhone owners, do work with iOS. Wear OS 2 watches running on the 4100 Plus chipset could be upgraded to Wear OS 3 later this year, though it’s still unclear if they’ll still be compatible with iOS once upgraded. The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Pixel Watch eschewed iOS hinted that Wear OS 3 would be a closed ecosystem. However, Montblanc’s decision to support iPhone users suggests that other Wear OS watchmakers, such as Fossil and Mobvoi, could follow suit for future watches or even retain some form of iOS compatibility when upgrading older watches.
According to Miller, Summit 3 will have a dedicated companion app on both iOS and Android that will act as a “bridge between phone and watch.” That also suggests that Fossil and Mobvoi may also need to develop their own apps if they want to keep iOS users in the mix.
But just because the Summit 3 works with iPhones doesn’t mean iOS users will get the same Wear OS 3 experience as Android users.
“Our priority for Wear OS 3 is to focus on quality experiences within the Android ecosystem,” Google spokesperson Ivy Chen Hunt told me. The edge† “The Montblanc Summit 3 will run Wear OS 3 and be compatible with iPhones. However, support for apps and experiences varies by phone platform.” Hunt went on to explain that Google supports iOS with apps and services like YouTube Music and notification mirroring, and that the company plans to expand support in the future.
Given that, it’s probably safe to assume Wear OS 3 won’t be as good on iPhones — at least, not at first. We won’t know exactly how the iOS experience will differ until Montblanc Summit 3 launches on July 15. That said, the watch costs a whopping $1,250 (about $1,300). So while the Summit 3 is technically the first iOS-compatible Wear OS 3 watch, you might be better off waiting for more affordable options from Fossil or Mobvoi, which could arrive later this fall.