The watchOS 2.2 beta lets devs pair multiple devices to one iPhone

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Photo: Apple
You wouldn't want your second Apple Watch Edition to feel left out, would you?

Developers are getting their hands on the first beta for watchOS 2.2 today, and it reportedly contains a feature that has us a little confused: the ability to pair multiple Apple Watches to a single iPhone.

It’s just the first beta, so we aren’t sure if this capability will make it to the final version. But if it does, we can imagine a bunch of incredibly weird uses for the Apple Watch’s new superpower.

Here are our best guesses.

Fashion

Apple Watch Edition dog
Finally, this spoiled dog doesn’t need two iPhones to make the most of the technology it has no idea it owns.
Photo: Wang Sicong

Apple has presented its smartwatch as a customizable fashion accessory since the beginning. In addition to the three different models featuring aluminum, steel, and freaking gold cases, it also offers bands in a variety of styles and colors so that you can coordinate appropriately. But the added flexibility of syncing additional devices to your phone opens up whole new possibilities.

For example, what if you have one outfit that goes amazingly well with your rose gold Sport watch, but another that just begs to pair up with black stainless steel? Well, now you can conveniently just buy both watches and not have to throw one of those ensembles in the garbage.

It’s just way more flexible and user-friendly.

Really lackluster multiplayer

Crossy Road
We can finally get gaming experiences we didn’t know we never wanted.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Gaming on the Apple Watch hasn’t quite taken off, and it’s understandable because that’s not a lot of space to create a meaningful experience. The best titles we’ve checked out have basically simulated receiving and responding to texts, and while we did enjoy those things, it came as a novelty when one developer put something as basic and stupid as Flappy Bird on the device.

Maybe doubling — or tripling — the number of screens could help. Five years ago, the official Scrabble app upped its multiplayer game by putting the shared board on an iPad and each player’s individual letter “trays” on their iPhones. It was a clever presentation.

What does this mean for the Apple Watch? We don’t know, but we probably don’t want to play it.

But actually …

Apple-Watch-2-concept-by-Eric-Huismann-780x439
Oh, right. This thing.
Photo: Eric Heisuman

As we said at the top of the post, we don’t even know if this feature will make it to your wrist, and we’re pretty sure that it’s just there for developers. What’s more, it almost definitely confirms that a new Apple Watch model will be here soon.

If app and game makers are working with watchOS 2.2, Apple wants to make sure that their output will work with all hardware running that system. So it makes sense to throw this feature in now so that they’ll have it to test compatibility on their development units for Apple Watch 2. And do you know what makes it really hard to test multiple bits of hardware that must absolutely sync up with an iPhone? Constantly having to unpair and re-pair devices during testing. Letting developers connect both devices at the same time will streamline the process greatly and help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as it can.

And if this is true, then it also suggests that the Apple Watch 2 will maintain the original’s need to sync up for the bulk of its functionality and still may not be the standalone gadget we were hoping for the first time around. But again, both this beta and the promising iOS 9.3 preview both just dropped today, and we’re sure a lot can change between now and the next launch window.

Even if it is in three months or so.

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  • elmedin

    Why is this confusing? I bought an AppleWatch 42mm in silver and an AppleWatch Sport 42mm in spaceblack.

    For my casual- and every-day-looks I prefer my AppleWatch Sport. For my business outfits (suit, …) I prefer the AppleWatch in silver. I’m very happy about this new feature.

  • Frankie FiGz

    agreed^^

  • matt

    i was one of the people that asked apple via feedback for 2 watches on one phone.

    the primary reason why you want 2 apple watches connected to one iPhone is so you will have always something to wear when one is charging!!!!