The Pandora Watch app is now completely standalone. Previously, you could download music to the wearable through Pandora, but being able to stream whatever you want without having your phone close by is a neat update.
Pandora’s stealing a march on many of its rivals here. Apple, of course, allows direct streaming to Apple Watch with Music and Podcasts. The likes of Spotify and Deezer still need an iPhone connection, effectively making their Watch interfaces remotes for their iPhone apps. YouTube Music and Tidal don’t support Apple Watch at all.
Given that Apple is selling several million watches every quarter, Pandora has a sizable market to tap into for people who want an alternative to Apple Music. Most people seem to still use their Apple Watch in conjunction with their iPhone, rather than leaving their phone behind. So while direct music streaming to the Watch is still a bit of a niche use case, Pandora is setting itself apart a bit from many competitors in the music and podcast department with this move.