Overcast Podcast App Gains Standalone Apple Watch Playback Feature

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
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    As of today, third-party podcast app Overcast lets users sync downloaded pods to their Apple Watch for standalone playback.

    The latest 3.1 update brings the much-requested feature to the popular podcast app, which was designed by Instapaper developer Marco Arment.

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    To take advantage of the new feature, users should access the Queue Menu (??) and select the Send to Watch option. Pending transfers should appear in the Downloads screen.

    Overcast recently received a design overhaul to bring it up to speed with visual changes introduced in iOS 10. The latest update also includes a new dark app icon option for premium members (a $9.99 in-app purchase).

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    Overcast 3.1 is available as a free ad-supported app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

    Article Link: Overcast Podcast App Gains Standalone Apple Watch Playback Feature
     
  2. profets macrumors 68040

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    #2
    Such a great app. Quite excited to see the ability to sync podcasts to the watch now.
     
  3. jacjustjac macrumors member

    jacjustjac

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    #3
    So cool. I love Overcast, possibly the most thoughtfully executed podcast app. I don't think I would use the syncing feature but it's great that it can actually be implemented, and I'm sure many people will be hopeful for Spotify too.
     
  4. mahood macrumors member

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    UK
    #4
    I love this app - but I doubt I'll be using this feature. I have paid for the 'premium' membership though, so I can upload my own files to listen to. It's ideal for audiobooks in MP3 format, and always remembers where I got to (unlike Apple's offering).
     
  5. swarmster macrumors 6502a

    swarmster

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    #5
    Good to see people start doing this. I'd try out Audible if they'd offer it.
     
  6. Fall Under Cerulean Kites macrumors regular

    Fall Under Cerulean Kites

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    #6
    It’s a great app except for the dumpster fire of a UI. Marco tried to be clever and rethink the UI but missed the mark horribly and is too arrogant or stubborn to roll it back.

    That said, the new Apple Watch integration is a very cool idea. The advertising platform is the best I’ve seen. I’m not a paid user. Sorry Marco. But I’m happy to view ads in the app as a result of not paying. They’re not horrible ED or “OMG, have you seen what <insert celeb name here> looks like now!?” ads. Much appreciate that! The playback tuning features are fantastic as well.

    All in all, it is a good app. And I’d recommend it. I just hate hate hate hate the new crappy UI. Fix this Marco! It sucks!
     
  7. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

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    #7
    This is literally what I've been wanting since day 1. The ability to do this was literally a prerequisite before I would upgrade to a GPS enabled watch. I do a lot of running while listening to podcasts.

    I'll try running once or twice without my iPhone just to see what it's like, but honestly I may go back to having my phone just for accurate GPS (and sometimes its good to be able to get some calls and texts.
     
  8. happydude macrumors 65816

    happydude

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    #8
    i run a lot and only listen podcasts during my runs. it is a giant pain to get podcasts onto the watch - convert them on my mac to an AAC, then upload it to the cloud, then download that file onto my phone, load it into the watch play list, then sync the watch. if i don't do it the night before, i'm out of luck since the whole process for an hour long podcast takes a couple hours. it's crazy apple doesn't have a watch version of their podcast for the watch.

    i'm going to give overcast a try here, hopefully finally takes care of what apple has refused to do. here's hoping!
     
  9. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Yeah, I wish the UI/UX was as polished as Pocket Casts. Swipes just don't feel "right" in Overcast. I always feel like I have to be extra careful how I swipe. And there are drawing errors (highlighted table borders that don't go away when that cell is deselected) because of the use of hidden table cells. Pocket Casts UI/UX is far ahead -- but all the enhanced playback features are disabled for streaming. They're working on adding them to streaming, but it can't come soon enough.

    But despite all the above, I'd start using Overcast again if CarPlay worked flawlessly, simply because SmartSpeed and Voice Boost work while streaming. Unfortunately, Overcast still has a lot of CarPlay bugs, while Pocket Casts has the most stable CarPlay implementation I've used so far. I don't want to use separate podcast apps when I'm listening in car vs. out of car.

    At least there are a lot of good choices for iOS podcast apps!
     
  10. turbineseaplane macrumors 68020

    turbineseaplane

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    #10
    I completely agree with others about the love for overcast as an app and Marco as a developer… But I also agree that this latest UI tweak need some serious refinement.

    I thought I would want something like the podcasts on the watch so I can finally have a reason to buy one, but when I go running I end up wearing a small pack with water, my keys and my iPhone SE which can be back there basically unnoticed and now that I use AirPods for wireless - it just isn't a big deal anymore.

    I'm a lifelong Apple guy and I still can't find any reason whatsoever that I want that watch… Ha ha
     
  11. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I've found lots of reasons to wear the watch… just never found one where I'd leave my phone behind, lol.
     
  12. profets macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Great points. I have to say, I do agree on the new UI to an extent. I like what he was trying to do, but I feel like it takes a few many awkward swipes to get to different places (from a now playing screen for ex to a different playlist). Sometimes swiping down, sometimes from the side, or back button. And I really dislike how on now playing how you have to slide side to side from artwork to show notes. Also, on iPad you have to do the same thing, yet there's more than enough real estate to have everything visible.

    The watch option is nice though. Also cool, I saw him mention on twitter how when you transfer to the watch, the app on iPhone quickly recodes each episode with your playback settings (smart speed) and then sends that version to the watch. Also keeps everything in sync between watch and phone.
     
  13. Number 9 macrumors newbie

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    London
    #13
    Have to agree about the UI. It's too clever for its own good. I don't like the extra steps it imposes. The only reason I resubscribed to premium is Overcasts excellent and instantaneous synching between my various devices. For some reason I haven't had a good synching experience with Casts. This watch feature sounds good for those who need it
     
  14. profets macrumors 68040

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    #14
    On my longer runs I really enjoy having a few good podcasts to listen to. Find it so boring and repetitive with music only.

    I do end up carrying my phone on longer runs (for emergencies and such). Though maybe a future cellular enabled watch would replace that need? Lol
     
  15. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Pocket Casts sync only syncs changes and only for the last 6 months, so there can definitely be issues that crop up from time to time. They're currently upgrading the sync engine to be much more robust, so I imagine any problems you had will be fixed in the near future.
     
  16. happydude macrumors 65816

    happydude

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    #16
    anyone try sending a podcast to the watch using this app? i'm trying - but i get no confirmation the podcast was actually transferred. and even if i did, when on the watch i swipe to the watch menu, it says to connect headphones. which i have - i can listen to music on my watch, so they're obviously paired. but the overcast app isn't registering it.
     
  17. pedregosa macrumors member

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    Mar 31, 2010
    #17
    I'm having the same problem. The podcasts just aren't transferring. I wasn't expecting it to be a speedy transfer, but nothing is happening at all. Btw, another app to check out is Watchcast -- a little crude as a podcast player on the phone, but it does transfer podcasts to the watch (albeit slowly).
     
  18. happydude, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017

    happydude macrumors 65816

    happydude

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    #18
    sigh. i emailed the developer and hopefully others have as well. also thanks for the watchcast rec, giving that a shot now.
     
  19. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    HardCast is another podcast app that can transfer episodes to the watch. Is much more fully featured on the phone than WatchCast, too.
     
  20. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #20
    That's about how I feel.

    Overcast sounds the best for sure but not by a ton, especially with all the work he put into creating it and refining the audio engine. Most people simply won't notice the difference. Yes, I realize it enables him to do some fancy audio tricks and is more versatile. Pocketcasts has no issue doing similar and using Apple's engine.

    Overcast is also the most hyped podcast player out there. The UI has always been just ok and the options slim but more functional than basic players.

    The CarPlay integration has been embarrassing. Before this update it flat out refused to play anything for me and I listen to a bunch of major podcasts so it wasn't some funky format issue. With this update it actually plays and works as he intended. I haven't come across any bugs yet but the UI is even more basic than Apple's own. Pocketcasts kills it here and feels and looks native. Personally, I think they nailed the CarPlay integration and their iOS device UI is fantastic. Up next integration is super easy to use and it also makes great use of the podcast artwork. Plus the dev is very responsive. Not a knock on Marco as he's responsive in other ways but Overcast really isn't the best out there.
     
  21. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I mostly agree. I do think Pocketcasts can improve their CarPlay UI, though. For instance, there's no way to start playing from the Up Next list via CarPlay. Ideally, they should use a tabbed interface with separate tabs for Podcasts, Filters, and Up Next.

    And speaking of Up Next, I really wish the iOS app allowed you to add to the top of the Up Next list instead of just to the bottom. The Android app has that functionality. Hopefully, it's coming to iOS very soon.

    Pocketcasts uses their own audio engine for downloaded podcasts and Apple's engine for streamed. That's why you can use Volume Boost and Trim Silence for downloaded episodes but not for streamed ones. But, yes, Overcast does sound better and is a little more conservative when trimming silence.

    Overall, I agree with you and prefer Pocketcasts. Little touches like being able to tap on the podcast name to go straight to that podcast when looking at episode info from a filter are great. In Overcast, there's no way to open a podcast directly from an episode in a playlist. You have to back all the way out and scroll the list for that specific instead.

    And I love how responsive the devs are. They're fantastic and give real support when you have issues or suggestions.
     
  22. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #22
    I'm not too bothered by the up next functionality on the device as it's easy enough to drag the podcast to the top spot. However, in CarPlay I agree. They do have a lot of constraints as to what they can and can't do in that UI though. I'm apart of the beta and helped with testing CarPlay and things I'd love to see simply can't be done in the current version on 10.3. Apple wants it as hands off as possible so they limit it pretty severely. Heck, we practically had to beg them to allow Pocketcast in CarPlay to begin with.
     
  23. JTravers, Apr 22, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017

    JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    That's cool that you're on the beta. Any idea when the next release is coming

    I'd rather automate things as much as possible and not have to fiddle with things. If you have more episodes in Up Next than fit in the mini-player, moving an episode up from the bottom of the list requires one tap to bring up the player, one swipe to get to Up Next, and then a tap and hold and drag to get that episode to the top of the list. This could easily be simplified. And having Play Next vs. Add to end of queue functionality really helps when a podcast is set to auto-add to Up Next. The Android app already has it, so there's no reason the iOS app shouldn't, also.

    I don't think I'm suggesting anything for CarPlay that isn't possible even with the currently limited feature set. Tabbed interfaces in CarPlay streamline the UI navigation quite a bit. And other podcast apps - such as Castro, RSS Radio, Overcast, and HardCast - already implement tabs. I hope Pocketcasts considers adding tabs to CarPlay, as well. And not being able to access the Up Next list from CarPlay would seem to be a rather big oversight on their part. What's the point of queuing things up to play on your phone but not being able to initiate playback of that queue in CarPlay?

    CarPlay in RSS Radio[​IMG]

    CarPlay in Castro[​IMG]

    CarPlay in Overcast
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  24. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #24
    One of their goals is to make Android and iOS apps as similar as possible as long as there isn't an iOS limitation (generally this means it's not worth the extra sweat equity it would require to implement the same feature). However, there are differences in UI design that they want to leave as the UI language is different and that can cause them to deny a functionality as well.

    As far as CarPlay Up Next functionality goes it's supposed to be already there. However, I can't find it and have asked the dev what's going on.
     
  25. crawdad62 macrumors regular

    crawdad62

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    #25

    Any word yet? It's the same issue I'm having. No transfer, asked to pair headphones. Frustrating because I like the app. I also tried WatchCast and it worked great once. Once. Now today it just keeps crashing every time I open it on the Apple Watch.
     

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