After a wildly successful Kickstarter project for the Pebble Time, the first batch of smartwatches have shipped to backers, with some already in hand.
Unfortunately, if those people have an iPhone, their new watch isn't very useful: The companion iOS app is still under review by Apple.
Pebble sent a note out to backers -- I'm one of them -- explaining the situation on Wednesday:
The Pebble Time iPhone app, as we've all noticed, is not yet live on the iTunes AppStore. It remains "in review." This unexpected circumstance pains us as much it does backers with watches ready to set up. We're doing all we can to mitigate the delay and make Pebble Time Watch for iPhone available for download.
It's not unreasonably to think there's some type of conspiracy going on. After all, Pebble Time is a direct competitor to the Apple Watch. Evidence suggests otherwise, however.
Pebble actually got approval for the Pebble Time Watch app for iOS on May 18 after a standard turnaround time. Unfortunately, the Pebble team found a bug in the software and rejected the approval.
On May 22, the company resubmitted the app with what it says were minor fixes. And the software has been under Apple's review since then. If Apple wanted to hold Pebble's app back for competitive reasons, it could have done so the first time.
Regardless of who's at fault, the end result is a bad one for those who want to use their new Pebble Time with an iPhone. Without the companion app, you can't set up a Pebble Time.
Pebble says it considered adding support for the new watch in the older Pebble app for its original smartwatch but that app is actually under review too. And it has been since April 22, according to the company. As a result, it can't add to or change that app without starting over from scratch in the review process.
One way or another, this will get resolved. It's a question of when, not if. Hopefully it's soon so that the first few recipients of their Pebble Time can start using it with an iPhone. It's probably small consolation to those folks that the Android version of the Pebble Time software is already available.
Looks like I'll be testing my Pebble Time with the Asus ZenFone 2 and not an iPhone 6 unless the situation changes in the next 24 hours; my Pebble Time is due to arrive tomorrow.