Despite rumors persisting up until this week that Niantic was scrapping the app, Pokémon Go launched on the Apple Watch on Thursday.
The Pokémon Go Apple Watch companion app gives players a notification whenever PokéStops or wild Poké are nearby. It also counts the distance walked towards hatching eggs and earning buddy Pokémon candy, reducing the need for trainers to walk around with their phones in-hand (or upside-down in their pockets in “battery saver” mode). The Apple Watch app allows players to gather items from PokéStops & receive in-game notifications, such as when eggs hatch or medals are earned.
Unlike the Pokémon Go Plus accessory, however, the Pokémon Go Apple Watch app does not give users the ability to catch Pokémon themselves. For that, iPhones are still a necessity.
Niantic’s Apple Watch announcement mentions that the app does share exercise data with iOS’ Health app, meaning that activity tracked while playing Pokémon Go will count towards players’ Activity Rings (which, btw, of course it does, since if you’re walking around with your watch on, it’s counting…ah, nevermind; let them have this one…).
The Apple Watch companion app is yet another add-on by Niantic Labs. The company has already offered both Halloween and Christmas incentives for players, introduced daily bonuses, incorporated some of the Pokémon Gold & Silver characters, and, recently, began partnering with companies like Starbucks and Sprint to provide sponsored PokéStops & gyms—all in the hopes of keeping active users engaged, while bringing some of the game’s initial massive turnout back to the app.