[Update: Pebble says its app for Pebble Time users has been approved and should hit the App Store in 2-3 hours if you can’t see it yet.]
Despite its official release at the end of May, Pebble’s new Pebble Time watch is not yet fully functional for iPhone users, as its required iOS synchronization app is not yet available in the App Store. The Pebble Time Watch application allows users to set up the Pebble Time wearable, install new applications, watch faces, and software updates, but backers who have received the hardware have taken to social media to complain that there’s no iPhone app to use with it. Android users are unaffected as their version of the app is available on Google Play.
Pebble has used its Kickstarter page to pin the delay on Apple’s App Store review process…
Early backers have taken to Twitter to voice their complaints about being unable to use their Pebble Times with their iPhones:
Addressing the delayed release of the Pebble Time app, Pebble says that Apple has been dragging its feet on a requested “expedited” review of the app. Based on a screenshot of application submissions, Pebble indicates that it originally submitted the Time app on May 11th, and that initial release was approved for release a week later, on May 18th. The first shipments of the Time watches arrived on May 27th.
However, ahead of the May 27th release, Pebble held back the Time app from being released in the App Store, re-submitting a new version with “minor bug fixes” on May 22nd — 5 days before the planned hardware release. When the hardware launch date arrived, the new application was still listed as “In Review” and unavailable for customers to install. Pebble says that due to “quirks in the App Store submission process and rules,” it could not revert to the buggy but already approved version.
Pebble calls the delay in the app’s release an “obstruction” by Apple and asks Pebble customers to voice their concerns to Apple using the #FreeOurPebbleTime tag on Twitter and Facebook. A user on the Kickstarter page sums up the situation by calling the Time a “paper weight” without the compatible iPhone app. With the app unavailable, Pebble recommends that Time hardware users “borrow an Android device from friends or family to perform initial setup, add cool watchfaces, or install standalone apps that don’t require a paired smartphone.”
While it would be helpful for developers if Apple offered a process that could allow Pebble, for example, to re-push the previously approved Pebble Time app to the App Store, Apple does not appear to be entirely at fault. According to crowdsourced app data website App Review Times, the current average iOS app review time is 10 days. Pebble submitted the updated app only 5 days before the Pebble Time hardware release, risking an issue like this.
However, Pebble’s discussion of this situation notes that a bug fix update to its standard Pebble app for iOS has been in review for 43 days (as of today), so perhaps there is a larger issue between the Apple Watch maker and Pebble behind the scenes. For its part, Apple has publicly indicated no fault with Pebble, previously stating that “apps won’t be denied on the grounds that they work with Pebble.” We’ve reached out to both Apple and Pebble for comment on this new situation.