As Google Glass is receiving its final touches, we realize that people might be conspicuous of buying the device and the reason for that won’t be only the price. If you would ask us, there would be two main reasons for which people would say no to the Glass, and those are: the device’s big price and the fact that it makes users look like they have just arrived from a cyborg fair. However, there’s another one just as important as the others: the Glass has little to no performance when paired with an iPhone.
As you know, Google Glass cannot do a lot of things on its own and needs to be paired to a smartphone in order to have access to internet and fully enjoy it. Bad news is that if you’re owning an iPhone or generally more Apple devices, your Glass will be absolved by a lot of work. The Android system the Glass is built on, meets a lot of restrictions when paired with an Apple device.
So, while paired with an Android, Glass comes with MyGlass app thus making possible to screencast from Glass to the smartphone, and an user would also get access to an interface for managing other Google Glass apps and also comes with some standard settings to better control the devices.
On iPhone it wouldn’t provide more than 30% of these performances. For instance, two of the Glass key features, receiving/sending messages and the navigation guidance don’t work on the iPhone. Some people might say that those features are pretty much the most important and since not everyone owns both an iPhone and an Android device so that the Glass would be used in its natural environment, this is quite a bummer for Apple fans. Why? Cause they would have to turn towards the Android smartphones if interested in acquiring Google Glass.
It is understandable why Apple won’t integrate the Glass in their interface and quite obvious that Glass would be more compatible with a device from its same kin. However, there are some not so logic and obvious reasons as well. .
If you remember, back in 2010 Apple delayed the Voice control integration in the iOS for more than a year until the FCC took a stand. But there are a lot of other apps that made it into the iOS environment some way or another, so the MIA Glass will probably get its greenlight as well at some point.
In September this year, Stephen Lau, one of the Glass explorers, started a thread on this subject and the response he received from Google was that while there are constant improvements made on the Glass, the iOS environment still has some bugs and restrictions to work out, such as the navigation guidance and text messaging. Later, someone explained that the iOS 6 provides Bluetooth MAP which could forward the message on the connected devices, but since it only offers the contact no and the content, with no association to your contact list, you wouldn’t be able to reply.
But at the time (fall 2013), iOS 7 had been in developers’ hands for months. And with iOS 7 came the Apple Notification Center Service (ANCS), an entirely new API that gives Bluetooth devices deeper access to iOS notifications. ANCS is built onto the backbone of Bluetooth LE (low energy), a technology that allows devices to remain connected for long stretches without destroying battery life.
With the new iOS 7 out and running, we might see some new functionalities as well. For instance, now we have the ANCS which gives access to more information via Bluetooth and also uses Bluetooth LE, which protects the battery life of the devices when connected for long periods.
Take the Pebble smartwatch as an example, which forwards every text message and other apps from the iPhone since its update to the SDK 2.0. On Android, the experience is way richer. Glass works pretty similar when used with the iPhone. Its performance is limited.
The developer of the Pebble said that this improvement with the iOS 7 was possible because the new ANCS is not an iOS Api anymore, but a Bluetooth LE Api which brings new opportunities to the table, such as a longer battery life for the Pebble and the possibility of syncing a notification from your phone with one from the Pebble so that only the interesting notifications would reach the smartwatch.
Google Glass wouldn’t be able to perform any of these tasks, because its basic system was built before the apparition of the BLE, on Android 4.3. And without this feature, the device won’t be able to filter iOS notifications with such depth.
The point is that making two Android devices connect and work together is a piece of cake, compared to what the pairing between an Android and an iPhone brings to the table. So, to the question when will we see a Glass app for iPhone? we don’t have an answer yet. And while it’s typical for Apple to hold everything a secret until they are nearly set for a product release, Google didn’t provide any response for the iPhone users either.
It is obvious that in order to create a bridge, Google would have to adapt their Glass system to the BLE, meaning they would have to redesign the OS to Android 4.3 or higher. Not only they would allow for the notifications to be better synced but they would also improve the battery life. Apple has played its card and delivered a friendlier API with the new ANSC and M7 processor, now it’s up to Google to bring the Glass up to date.
As for the Apple Company, they still have to show what else they keep in their sleeves besides the M7 motion co-processor of the new iPhone 5S.
Considering these new information, what do you think about Google’s decision to exclude Apple fans from Glass journey?
Would you switch your iPhone for an Android just to enjoy a smoother Glass experience?