For the past few months, wearable-tech adopters around the world have been watching Pebble and Apple circle each other like two prize fighters in the center of the ring waiting for the other one to throw the first punch to start what will be the first true battle for your wrist. If you don’t understand this ridiculous metaphor, you either don’t care about wearable technology or you don’t care about boxing (for most of you it’s probably the latter). Regardless, it looks like Apple has thrown the first punch, and now Pebble is asking it’s backers to counter it.

The Quick Background:

Pebble is arguably the first and most successful smart watch, and the first piece of wearable technology to maintain a loyal user base. They’re also currently listed as both the 3rd and 1st most funded projects on Kickstarter of all time, raising a total of $30,605,831. Apple, well I’ll just say at the time of this writing, their market cap was $748.42B, otherwise known as the most valuable company in history. Apple just recently released its first smart watch, and Pebble is a few days away from shipping its second smart watch called the Pebble Time.

applewatch

Apple Watch

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pebbletime

Pebble Time

Obviously, there was always going to be some competition here, but the complexity of this battle hinges on the fact that your smart watch is really only smart when it is connected to your smart phone.

The First Punch:

Since Apple has shipped more than 700,000,000 iPhones to date, it should come as no surprise that the Pebble made sure to have its own iOS app to allow for that all important ‘smart phone tethering’. However, if you’re a backer of the Pebble Time like I am, then you may have just received a fairly odd email from our friends at Pebble. I’ve included that email in its entirety below, but here is the short version:

May 18: Apple approves the new Pebble Time Watch app

May 22: Pebble pushes an updated containing bug fixes to this app and requests and expedited review

Today: App approval still pending

It’s also worth mentioning that Apple has yet to approve Pebble’s update to their older app that supports their first generation watch, even though that app has been in review for 43 days. FORTY-THREE DAYS!

The counter:

Something doesn’t seem quite right about this and Pebble obviously agrees, because just hours ago it decided to not only send that email, but even went so far as to ask us backers to reach out to Apple and #FreeOurPebbleTime.

This is a big move because there are MANY Pebble owners that are also Apple Fans, and as we know, Apple fans are often Apple’s biggest critics. It won’t be surprising if this rallying cry causes more than just a ripple.

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This is the email from Pebble in its entirety:

Project Update #21: Pebble Time – Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises by Pebble Technology

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.

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.

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 #FreeOurPebbleTime

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