Outcast for Apple Watch debuted in January and immediately became my favorite way to listen to podcasts without my iPhone. Fast-forward to June and Apple unveiled that watchOS 5 would add Apple’s Podcasts app to Apple Watch and support third-party apps much better. While it sounds like Outcast has plans for watchOS 5 (which is currently in developer beta), Outcast 2 has shipped for everyone and includes two major features: episode streaming and playlists for continuous playback.
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Outcast already let you download podcast episodes directly to your Apple Watch over Wi-Fi or LTE with no iPhone required for transfer or managing shows, and Outcast 2 adds the option to stream shows so they can download as they play.
Streaming episodes is ideal if you want to quickly start a workout and play an episode. watchOS 4 has limitations to what’s possible for audio apps, however, with the key limit here being the need to keep Outcast active until the stream fully buffers the episode.
Playlists are also new to Outcast 2, and these can be controlled right on the Apple Watch. Playlists support continuous playback so you can keep listening to episodes back to back — especially ideal for short daily shows — and you can rearrange episodes within a playlist using the Digital Crown.
Outcast 2 also includes three new theme color options in addition to the original nine and lots of improvements including how quickly episodes are listed, artwork loads, and how well password-protected feeds are supported.
Outcast is currently the best way to listen to podcasts on the Apple Watch without botching your Apple Watch with a developer beta.