Despite news to the contrary, Pokémon Go for Apple Watch is still in development. But a new report from 9to5Mac is shedding an interesting light on the apparent delay.
Jumping into the wearable game
A look at Niantic's apparent wearable device.
Over the weekend, the same site reported that the Apple Watch version of the game was apparently scrapped all together. But Niantic refuted that report on Twitter.
Interestingly, the reason for the apparent delay is now clear as the developer was planning its own line of wearable devices. Here’s more from the report:
Niantic was stalling in part because early next month the company is planning to announce its own hardware product, a wrist wearable it appears to be licensing and branding for its games. That’s why the Apple Watch app isn’t out yet, according to our same sources familiar with the situation, and it’s also why Niantic was seemingly giving out smoke screen statements and refusing to confirm delays.
Apparently called the Nex + Ingress Band, the device will work with the developer’s other AR game Ingress. Ingress basically served as a building block for the enormously popular Pokémon Go that arrived this summer.
The Nex Band products we’ve seen before go far beyond the functionality of the Pokemon Go Plus wearable that Nintendo developed for the game. It includes five touch sensitive displays with multi-color LEDs to offer customized notifications and icons, up to 4 day battery life, and fitness tracking features, which would essentially allow it to offer all the functionality of an Apple Watch app like the Pokemon Go app demoed in September. It’s unlikely players would wear both a Nex Band wearable and Apple Watch for that reason. Niantic is planning an Ingress model at first, but we’ve heard there have been discussions about a Pokemon Go version which is based on the company’s Ingress game.
Promised by the end of 2016
On the Apple Watch version of the game, Niantic promised that players could do things like monitor egg hatchings.
Announced in September at the iPhone 7 media event, Niantic promised the game would arrive before the end of the year.
At the event, Niantic demonstrated the app and said players will be able to access PokeStops, track egg hatchings, and even see nearby creatures only using their Apple Watch.
But with just two weeks remaining in 2016, it’s looking highly unlikely that the developer will fulfill that promise, especially considering the upcoming iTunes holiday shutdown.