There was one key thought running through my head as Apple announced all the new features coming to the Apple Watch with WatchOS 5. "Wait, that wasn't already available?" For the most part it was because I've been rocking a Fitbit Blaze for the past couple of years, which already has a lot of the enhanced fitness features coming to Apple Watch. But then Apple brought out Walkie Talkie, and I was hit with a serious case of déjà vu.
This time it was warranted, because Apple actually announced the Walkie Talkie feature in 2014, back when the Apple Watch was first unveiled.
Apple originally announced “Walkie-Talkie” during the Apple Watch unveil in 2014. Here’s the original marketing. pic.twitter.com/SYJ23DCOEW
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) June 4, 2018
The announcement went a little bit under the radar, as shown by the fact it wasn't included in our big long announcement post. Apple didn't go into too many details about how Walkie Talkie would word, but it made enough of an impact that people started wondering what happened to it. Set Google's search parameters to ignore today, and you'll find a number of news posts and Reddit threads asking what happened to it. The iOS App Store even has apps that filled the void, with some sort of walkie-talkie based functionality.
It's really not clear why Apple would announce this feature and then ignore it for three and a half years, but it's totally on brand for Apple to ignore the fact it ever announced a feature that never materialised.
Someone will probably manage to pry an answer from an executive over the next couple of weeks, so we'll have to keep an eye out for a proper explanation. It's probably something boring like the fact that it didn't work very well, or this new version is far more advanced than what came before. But that doesn't ignore the fact that this is a very weird situation for it to find itself in.