Google's new OS for wearable devices was supposed to launch before the end of 2016 - but in September, the company announced a change of plan, delaying its release until "early 2017".
Today, Google has announced the release of its "fifth and final developer preview" for Android Wear 2.0, following availability of Developer Preview 4 six weeks ago. Given that no further betas are planned for developers, the main focus of this release is, unsurprisingly, on "bug fixes and enhancements", but there is one major addition, in the form of support for iOS devices.
In a post on its Developers Blog, Google explained:
Since 2015, you've been able to pair Android Wear watches with iPhones, and now you can distribute your apps to iPhone-paired watches as well. To do so, just set the standalone=true flag in your watch app manifest. This lets the Play Store know that your watch app doesn't require an Android phone app, and therefore can appear in the Play Store on watches paired to iPhones. To pair your watch to an iPhone and test, just follow these steps.
The available network bandwidth for standalone apps can be lower than expected, as the platform balances battery savings vs network bandwidth. Make sure to check out these guidelines for accessing the network, including accessing Wi-Fi and cellular networks on watches paired with iPhones.
Also with this developer preview release, Android Wear apps running on watches paired with iOS devices will be able to perform phone hand-off flows such as OAuth and RemoteIntent for launching a web page on a paired iOS device.
Google also confirmed that - as recently rumored - Android Wear 2.0 is lined up for its consumer launch in early February. With general availability of the update fast approaching, Google says that "apps compiled with this preview are now ready for final submission to the Google Play Store".