Apple’s iOS 6 software adds numerous features to iPods, iPhones and iPads and it looks to add a key feature to Bluetooth devices too: the ability to wirelessly send data from iMessage to paired devices. That addition, plus the power of crowdsourced fundraising, have caused smartwatch company MetaWatch to shift strategies by offering an iOS-compatible watch on Kickstarter. The wearable device is called the Strata, and the company plans to start delivering the smartwatch as early as September.
That sounds like a very aggressive timeframe, especially since the comparable Pebble watch is delayed. But MetaWatch — founded by people that originally worked on connected watches at Fossil — has the experience to deliver. And the product is similar to the currently available MetaWatch for Android devices, so the Strata team isn’t starting from scratch; all of the design and testing work is already done.
Here’s a look at the Strata, available in multiple colors and made for sports and active lifestyles:
Overall, the device looks similar to the original MetaWatch I reviewed last year. I was exteremely impressed with the display, battery life and wireless range; the watch stayed connected with my smartphone even when I was 80 feet away from my handset.
The key differences between then and now? Instead of Android support, the Strata is going after the iOS crowd because of Apple opening up more phone data for Bluetooth use. Like I said with the Pebble: If you want to sell a hot smartwatch, you just need to add iPhone support. And instead of pitching MetaWatch solely as a platform for developers or a device to license, the MetaWatch team is attempting to sell a consumer product.
Will the Strata become the first iOS smartwatch to ship, beating out the Pebble? That’s up to you and your wallet; the Kickstarter project needs to $100,000 in funding by August 20. For a $159 pledge, you can get your own Strata, complete with notifications for SMS, Twitter, Facebook, email, incoming calls and more on your wrist.