While the focus of yesterday’s Apple event was clearly the iPhone 7, one surprise piece of news was that, with 500m downloads in the bag, Pokémon Go will soon be available to play on the Apple Watch.
While the initial madness of the Pokémon Go launch has died down somewhat, 500m downloads later and with 4.6bn km walked by its users, the game still has a dedicated audience and developers looking to gain access to it.
Now Apple has announced that it has agreed with the game’s developers – Niantic Labs – to help bring Pokémon Go to the Apple Watch.
According to TechCrunch, the new app will remove the need for the player to keep taking their phone out of their pocket to help find an augmented reality (AR) Pokémon.
Instead, the player will be able to go on their walk or run, and the Apple Watch will alert them on-screen when a Pokémon is nearby, whereby they can then take their phone out of their pocket.
The Apple Watch app will also tell the user how far they walked and the number of calories burned on their travels, while Pokéstops can be interacted with by tapping on the watch when you reach a location.
The addition of a Pokémon Go app on the Apple Watch is more of a neat feature for current owners of the watch, rather than a reason to go out and buy one.
What about Pokémon Go Plus?
Following its launch this summer, Niantic Labs announced that a device called the Pokémon Go Plus was to be released that would offer many of the Apple Watch app features, but for a fraction of the price.
While it does not have a screen, the wrist wearable would vibrate when the user approaches a Pokémon character in the open world.
For Nintendo, Niantic’s decision to get involved with the Apple Watch has seen its shares spiking for a second time since the launch of the game by more than 20pc.
This despite the company claiming that its connection with Pokémon Go is not substantial enough to influence its value following the major dip that followed the initial launch of the game.
Apple Watch owners interested in the app will have to wait a little longer for it to launch, however, Niantic Labs has said it should be out by the end of the year.
Man holding a Pokéball image via Vedran Tolic/Shutterstock