Friday, February 23, 2024

Apple Sports

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today introduced Apple Sports, a free app for iPhone that gives sports fans access to real-time scores, stats, and more. Designed for speed and simplicity, the app’s personalized experience puts users’ favorite leagues and teams front and center, featuring an easy-to-use interface designed by Apple. Apple Sports is available to download now in the App Store in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada.

John Gruber:

Apple Sports is indeed incredibly fast to load and update. Nearly instantaneous. You might think, “So what, it’s just loading scores and stats, of course it’s fast”, but the truth is ad tech, combined with poor programming, has made most sports apps slow to load. Most apps, period, really. Just being very fast to load ought not be a hugely differentiating factor in 2024, but it is.


Sports doesn’t — yet — offer any Home Screen widgets.


There’s no compatible version for Mac, Vision, TV, or Watch. […] But on iPad, it just runs in an iPhone layout.

John Gruber:

A bunch of readers emailed to ask how to get Live Activities from Sports. Turns out, it’s not the new Sports app that provides them, it’s the existing TV app[…]

Jason Snell:

And it has led to a lot of confusion about what the Apple Sports app does and doesn’t do, which highlights just how scattered Apple’s current effort to bring information to sports fans really is. I imagine that it wasn’t planned to work this way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple connects all of its disparate sports pieces eventually, but in the meantime things are a little confusing.


On the iPhone, at least in the U.S. (I’m told this isn’t the case in the UK?!) the TV app has the ability to place the scores of your favorite teams in a Live Activity on your lock screen and in the Dynamic Island. In fact, it’s more than that: you can place any game in a Live Activity by tapping on it in the TV app and tapping Follow Live.


This is the conundrum of the Apple Sports app: It avoids the complexity of adding a News tab and a TV tab and focuses on scores, which is good. But if you want to start a Live Activity or jump to watch the game, it’s at least one app and several taps away.

Basic Apple Guy:

I love the app idea. It’s a fast, simple, clean, ad-free, and uncluttered way to access sports scores and basic game analytics for the games I care about. For a short while, Apple has had an anemic sports-type section inside the News app that showed game scores, so I’m excited to see this next push toward a more comprehensive & dedicated sports app.

Francisco Tolmasky:

People who say that Apple is anti-web have no idea what they’re talking about. Just this week they released the Apple Sports app specifically to showcase why Web Apps are so often a better choice than native apps. It’s a masterful proof by example. By stripping what could have been a fun app down to its barest components, a flat list of scores with no design whatsoever, they can focus on demonstrating how these “list apps” are usually just the thinnest of wrappers around a JSON API.

I really have to commend them for resisting the temptation to ship a really great iPad experience. This does an excellent job of showing how even the simplest CSS framework would have probably given you a better iPad experience than what you get by default from UIKit/SwiftUI/etc.


Most people might think this is an odd omission, that a Sports Widget actually makes even more sense than a Sports App, that the whole point of a Sports App might be to deliver a Sports Widget. But here Apple is showing us that mere existence of native-only features in no way guarantees that developers will bother actually taking advantage of them.


Update (2024-02-28): Sam Henri Gold (tweet):

We do internal design critiques quite often, but we noticed a few things worth mentioning for designers and developers thinking about modern iOS design practices.


Apple has been playing with navigation bars a lot recently. We could probably write a whole thread about just the nav bar. Take a look at how it stretches during over-scroll and transitions to a squished state when collapsed.

Gradients are used a LOT in this app. This nav bar gradient effect is becoming pretty common throughout first-party apps as well — first with the iOS 17 Health app, then Journal, and now Sports. watchOS 10 is full of gradients. (Actually, the Journal app is entirely gradients!)

Take a look at the “Yesterday / Today / Upcoming” picker right above the list. This is functionally a segmented control, but they did not opt to use the stock style.


Finally (and this is a big one): motion backgrounds.

Josh Renaud:

I’m so disappointed in the design of the new Apple Sports app, which does not degrade gracefully on smaller screen sizes, like my iPhone SE2.

Apple used to get this stuff right.

Apple is still selling phones with that screen size.

Update (2024-03-28): See also: Sam Gold.

Update (2024-04-08): Kontra:

I’m giving up on Apple Sports.

Besides the ridiculously long post-game Standings updates, interns-all-the-way level of incompetence: last night NBA Standings was showing only the Western Conference. How does one ship such a thing!

1 Comment RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

"People who say that Apple is anti-web have no idea what they’re talking about. Just this week they released the Apple Sports app specifically to showcase why Web Apps are so often a better choice than native apps. It’s a masterful proof by example."

Nope. is THE "masterful proof by example".

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