Samsung brings iOS compatibility to Gear wearables

Samsung's Gear S3 Frontier. Image: Samsung

Samsung said its line of Gear wearables is now compatible with Apple’s iOS.

The South Korean electronics launched iOS apps for Gear S3, Gear S2 and Gear Fit2, enabling users to pair the gadgets with an iPhone. Gear devices had previously been compatible only with Android phones.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our offerings and we do this in part by listening to what our customers want—and that includes greater access to our cutting-edge wearable technologies with iOS support,” said Younghee Lee, executive vice president of global marketing for Samsung, in a prepared statement. “By offering Android and iOS compatibility with our latest Gear devices, we’re giving users more ways to optimize their wearable experiences and connect to Samsung’s Galaxy of possibilities.”

Samsung is hoping to gain ground in a wearables market that has yet to live up to a considerable amount of hype. The research firm eMarketer last month slashed its forecast for the worldwide wearables segment, saying the devices simply haven’t resonated with consumers beyond a small audience of early adopters.

Its previous forecast had predicted usage of wearables among U.S. adults to grow 60% in 2016, but eMarketer pegged growth in the wearables market at only 24.7%, primarily due to significantly weak demand for smartwatches.

“Before Apple launched its Watch, fitness trackers dominated the wearables space, and consumer surveys consistently found that tracking health and fitness was the main reason people were interested in wearables,” eMarketer analyst Cathy Boyle said on the company’s site. “They also reported high price sensitivity. Without a clear use case for smartwatches—which have more features than fitness trackers, but significant overlap with smartphone functionality—the more sophisticated, expensive devices have not caught on as quickly as expected.”

And while Samsung remains the top smartphone vendor in the world, it is struggling to compete in wearables. IDC said Samsung claimed a mere 4.5% of global wearable shipments in the third quarter of 2016, making the world’s fifth-largest vendor in the space. Fitbit was the top wearables manufacturer during the period with a 23% share of the market.