Monday, September 25, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

watchOS 4 and Podcast Apps

Matt Birchler:

So after all that said, how do I feel about watchOS 4? I think this is ultimately an update similar to watchOS 2. It’s a small update that makes some key features better, but it does not change the smart watch game in any meaningful way. I don’t mean that totally as an insult, but you should know that this update is not going to revolutionize the world of smart watches and make them something everyone just must have.

But while watchOS 4 is not a revolution, it is a good step in the right direction. This feels like a refinement year to me, which just means that you are going to enjoy your Apple Watch more than you did already. Media controls are a big win, as I now feel like my watch and my phone are more aware of what each other are doing.

Marco Arment (Hacker News):

The Apple Watch desperately needs standalone podcast playback, especially with the LTE-equipped Series 3, which was designed specifically for exercising without an iPhone.

Believe me, I’ve tried. But limitations in watchOS 4 make it impossible to deliver standalone podcast playback with the basic functionality and quality that people expect.


Requiring podcast apps to also be workout apps is a user- and developer-hostile hack that Apple probably doesn’t intend.


The lack of volume control is especially damaging with watchOS 4’s great new “Auto-launch Audio Apps” setting.


WKAudioFilePlayer will not play to the Watch’s built-in speaker — it only plays to headphones connected to the Watch via Bluetooth. If playback is attempted without headphones connected, WKAudioFilePlayer just silently fails to play, without returning any errors.


Transferring a podcast file to the Watch is a long-running task, often taking at least a few minutes per episode (and sometimes much longer), but the WCSessionFileTransfer class provides no progress information. So there’s no way for apps to inform users how long the transfers may take, or if they’re currently moving at all.


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