Regarding iOS compatibility and why it wasn’t “meant to be”..


First out of the gate- I don’t work for Neptune. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, nor do I communicate with them in any professional capacity. These are my opinions based on technical facts, and just my assumptions given my work in the Software and Hardware industry.

I wanted to write this up to answer the questions around why *I think* Neptune eventually cancelled their iOS Companion App. There’s two sides to the coin probably, general knowledge, and then of course the hard requirements to work with an iOS device.

Here’s my take, which are ASSUMPTIONS. Again, I don’t work for Neptune-

  1. Development knowledge. Neptune didn’t/doesn’t have any in-house software developers. I think this is the case based on the largely unmodified version of Android on the Pine, and the lack of any homegrown apps on their part to go with the Pine. Given this factor, I can see how it’s very easy for them to have looked at similar devices (ie- the Pebble), and assume this task would be completely possible for the Pine.
  2. Priorities. We don’t really know how many iOS users backed the Pine wanting to use it as a companion device. My gut feeling is that it’s a low number compared to the community of people that wanted Android pairing, or to use it as a standalone device. Maybe not, I don’t think Neptune ever did a survey, so it’s hard to say.

Now for the hard fact- Apple Notification Center Service. Let’s look at the requirement for Apple’s Notification Center Service that was updated to include rich notifications in iOS 7 last fall:

  1. Bluetooth Low-Energy. This is the baseline hardware requirement. If the accessory device does not support BTLE, then you’re out of luck.
  2. But the Pine has BT 4.0! Yes, the hardware supports BT 4.0. BUT- the OS version/drivers on the Pine do not support BTLE. Android 4.3 is the first revision of Android to officially support BTLE.

So there you have it, regardless of management or poor assumptions made by Neptune- it’s ultimately a hardware requirement in iOS that prevented Neptune from accomplishing this task. Could they have done more homework before stating compatibility? Should they have stated things differently in the KS campaign? Yes, probably.

It’s clear to me that their main goal with the Pine is that it is a STANDALONE device, in the form-factor of a SmartWatch. That’s the main vision for the product, which they surely have accomplished. Chalk this lesson up in the list for when they do a post-mortem of their first product, which I’m sure they’ve learned many valuable lessons from.

Lastly, my personal opinion? I think it’s awfully silly to want to pair a iPhone with an Android phone. Just my two cents.