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Smartwatches shouldn’t make you choose either Apple or Android

Apple Watch Series 8 on its side on a mirror.
The Apple Watch-iPhone connection is well established. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

When people ask me what smartwatch they should buy, I always ask them the same question: what phone do you have?

Sadly, the phone you have largely dictates which smartwatches you can buy. They aren’t standalone devices. You need a phone to set them up, and as the US Department of Justice pointed out in its monopoly case against Apple, that makes them the perfect accessory for locking people into an ecosystem. If you spend $400 on an Apple Watch and absolutely love it, you’re less likely to give up on an iPhone you don’t like.

Apple’s well aware of this. In the DOJ lawsuit, an Apple executive is quoted as saying the Apple Watch “may help prevent iPhone customers from switching.” But for a long time, this wasn’t that serious of a problem….

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