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Apple Delay Means Pebble Time Smartwatch Buyers May Get Watch Without Necessary Software

Rafe Needleman
Editorial Director, Yahoo Tech
Yahoo Tech

Pebble recently began sending very happy emails: It was telling backers of its Kickstarter campaign for the new Pebble Time smartwatch that their watches are on the way. But then Pebble dropped a bomb: The iOS software necessary to set up and use the Pebble Time watch with an iPhone is “still in review” at Apple. And it’s been “in review” for 43 days, says Pebble.

Dang it. (Email from Pebble)

This is not the first software hiccup that Pebble has faced. In 2013, when the first Pebble watch began shipping, the company had a similar message to backers: The iOS app that gave the Pebble watch full functionality wasn’t going to be available by the time backers got their watches. (Some functions did work, but full customization required the app.)

More recently, Pebble users got a scare when Apple removed some apps that worked with Pebble. That was a “mistake,” according to Apple, but it rattled Pebble owners and potential future customers.

As far as we know, Pebble’s compatibility with Android phones has never been threatened, and the new Pebble Time app that works with the Pebble smartwatches is currently available in the Google Play app store.

Read more:


Here is the complete email from Pebble:

Hi everyone,

We’ve got key details to share about the Pebble Time app for iPhone. Here’s the TL;DR:

  • Pebble Time iPhone App Still In Review
  • Timeline, Current Status, Next Steps
  • Hang in there. We’re close and you can help.

Pebble Time iPhone App Still In Review

The Pebble Time iPhone app, as we’ve all noticed, is not yet live on the iTunes AppStore. It remains “in review.” This unexpected circumstance pains us as much it does backers with watches ready to set up. We’re doing all we can to mitigate the delay and make Pebble Time Watch for iPhone available for download.

We appreciate you hanging in there with us while we navigate this obstacle.

Timeline, Current Status, and Next Steps

Making sure you get everything you need to enjoy your Pebble Time reward remains our top priority. In the lead-up to shipments on May 27, we completed the following iOS-related preparations:

(Status history of Pebble Time watch for iPhone, pending approval. Status history of Pebble Time watch for iPhone, pending approval.)

May 18: Apple approved our new app, Pebble Time Watch.

May 22: We submitted an updated version of the same iPhone app—only adding minor bug fixes—for approval. We requested an expedited review of this submission.

We unfortunately cannot simply publish the original submission approved on May 18 due to quirks in the AppStore submission process and rules. We considered adding Pebble Time support to the existing Pebble iPhone app. Sadly, that app also has a pending update—containing one bug fix—in Apple’s review process. Version 2.6.6 remains “in review” now for 43 days and counting.

(Status history of Pebble Smartwatch v2.6.6, in review since April 22, 2015.)

Past Experience with “Expedited” AppStore Reviews

Developers may occasionally request that Apple grant “fast-track approval” for app updates they would quickly like reviewed, approved, and published to the iTunes AppStore.

Last year was the first and only other time Pebble requested expedited review for an app update. That update was approved and published on the AppStore within 24 hours.

Hang in there—we’re close and you can help.

We are proud of and grateful for the hard work, long hours, and sacrificed weekends our iOS team devoted to building the Pebble Time iPhone app. It’s only right that users get a fair shot at enjoying the fruit of that labor without further delay.

We’re sure Apple, like Pebble, loves its fans and is responsive to feedback. Together, we can kindly express our desire to see the AppStore #FreeOurPebbleTime with a speedy approval of Pebble Time Watch for iPhone.

You can make your voice heard by reaching out to Apple directly, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Since the beginning, you’ve proven time and again that the Pebble community knows how to come together and accomplish amazing things.

While waiting for the iPhone app, iOS backers may borrow an Android device from friends or family to perform initial setup, add cool watchfaces, or install standalone apps that don’t require a paired smartphone.

The sooner we clear this obstruction, the sooner we can get back to updates about reward shipments (moving along great), pre-order news (June 22), and Pebble Time Steel (shiny new samples are in).

Thanks for having our backs every step of the way.
<3, Team Pebble