Finally, there's a way to get around those disappointed looks your grandma keeps giving you when you pull out your phone to play "Pokemon Go." On Thursday, Niantic announced that "Pokemon Go" is available on Apple Watch, so this holiday season, you can catch 'em all without technically breaking the no-phones rule at the dinner table.
Well, kind of. According to The Verge, you can't access the full version of the game on your Apple Watch, which means you can't actually do any Pokemon-catching without your phone. Instead, you can collect items and candy, and you'll receive notifications about nearby Pokemon and PokeStops. The distance you walk also counts toward hatching eggs. Furthermore, the benefits go both ways: You can log each "Pokemon Go" session as a workout, which counts toward your Apple Watch activity rings.
"Apple Watch is particularly well suited to Pokémon GO as it seamlessly combines gameplay and imagination with getting exercise and exploring the real world," said Niantic in a press release.
The Apple Watch integration was first announced during an Apple event in September, and many "Pokemon Go" fans waited eagerly for the app to actually roll out. Last week, it was rumored that the endeavor was cancelled, but those reports were proven false on December 22.
Hardcore "Pokemon Go" players may have noticed that the Apple Watch app sounds a lot like the "Pokemon Go" Plus accessory, a wristbound device that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It provides similar notifications about PokeStops and nearby monsters, but unlike the Apple Watch app, "Pokemon Go" Plus allows you to catch Pokemon without your phone.
It would be hard to top the popularity of "Pokemon Go" when it initially came out this summer, but December has turned out to be a big month for the game as well. On December 13, it became available in India and other South Asian countries, and the app has partnered with companies like Starbucks for sponsored PokeStops and a special-edition Frappuccino. Furthermore, on Tuesday, Niantic announced that players had walked a collective 8.7 billion kilometers, a distance equivalent to more than 200,000 trips around Earth.
It looks like "Pokemon Go" is still going strong in terms of popularity, even if it's not quite as ubiquitous as it was in July. Here's hoping the game will inspire me to walk off all the extra calories I'm about to consume over the holidays. Happy hunting!