The news — initially reported by Wareable — was confirmed to The Verge by Qualcomm spokesperson Lauren Miller. The Summit 3 isn’t the first smartwatch to be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform, but it is the first to launch with Wear OS 3 already installed. The fact that it also supports iOS is a significant departure from other confirmed Wear OS 3 watches. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 lineup and the forthcoming Google Pixel Watch, for example, 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 can be upgraded to Wear OS 3 later this year — though it’s still unclear whether they’ll still be iOS-compatible 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 like Fossil and Mobvoi could follow suit for future watches or even retain some form of iOS compatibility when upgrading older watches.
According to Miller, the 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 hints that Fossil and Mobvoi may also have to develop their own apps if they want to keep iOS users in the mix.
But just because the Summit 3 will work with iPhones, that 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 The Verge. “The Montblanc Summit 3 will run Wear OS 3 and be compatible with iPhones. However, support for apps and experiences will vary by phone platform.” Hunt went on to explain that Google supports iOS with apps and services like YouTube Music and notifications mirroring and that the company plans to expand support in the future.
Given that, it’s probably safe to assume that Wear OS 3 won’t be quite as good on iPhones — at least, not at first. We won’t know how exactly the iOS experience will differ until the Montblanc Summit 3 launches on July 15th. That said, the watch costs an eye-watering €1,250 (roughly $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.