Chinese brands have had the reputation of being copycats. Chinese phone makers have indeed been guilty of that for a time but, for the past years, they have been working hard to change their public image but, last October, Xiaomi single-handedly undid much of that. It’s hard not to see the Mi Watch as a ripoff of the Apple Watch except for the fact that it didn’t work with iPhones, ironic as that may sound. As of December 3 in China, however, that sweet irony no longer stands as the Mi Watch will now behave a bit like the original, at least as far as iPhone pairing goes.
It’s almost baffling that the Xiaomi Mi Watch didn’t support the iPhone from the get-go. It does, after all, run on some form of Wear OS which does include iPhone compatibility. That said, Xiaomi’s MIUI for Watch is probably so far removed from Wear OS that supposedly trivial things are no longer trivial. That’s the price you have to pay for forking and heavily modifying software for your own purposes.
A new OTA update fixes that and a bit more. According to GSMArena, the update opens the smartwatch to iPhone users, presuming those don’t want the real Apple Watch. The update also addresses complaints about freezing when the watch is paired for the first time. Finally, the are fixes for notifications as well as weather information updates that have been buggy ever since the wearable launched.
Will this be enough to get iPhone users to buy the Xiaomi Mi Watch? It’ll probably just end up being a point of ridicule and criticism for non-Apple fans on how the latter group can’t innovate or be original. Then again, there will always be some people who’d love to have the squarish looks of the Apple Watch but still keep their Android phones.
The $200 price tag will probably be a more compelling factor in wanting to purchase a Xiaomi Mi Watch over an original Apple Watch. At this point, it isn’t yet known what features won’t be available when paired with an iPhone, let alone whether or when this smartwatch doppelganger will make its way outside of China.