Since I am currently training for a marathon later this fall, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts on Apple Watch during my long runs. I’ve been a heavy podcast listener since before Apple integrated it into the iPod, so being able to listen to them on a watch is a dream come true for me. Pairing Apple Watch with the new Powerbeats Pro is the perfect combination for running.
While I am generally an Overcast user, I have experimented with Apple Podcasts here recently as well. I wrote an article about the best podcast app for Apple Watch that I encourage you to read as well. This week, I want to talk about what Apple could do for Apple Podcasts on watchOS 6 and beyond to improve the experience.
Direct Downloads over Wi-Fi and Cellular
One of the aspects of Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch that is frustrating is the process of actually loading them. Right now, the process works like this. If you have a Watch without cellular, your Apple Watch will sync podcasts when it’s on the charger. I frequently notice that this process can become very time-consuming. I don’t know if it’s a bug or if it just takes a while, but it was far from automatic. For shows that would download overnight, I frequently have to open Apple Podcasts on iPhone in order for the Watch app to see that it needed to sync. On the LTE watch, you can stream them over cellular, but that certainly can drain the battery life.
In watchOS 6, it’s possible for audio apps to directly download content from the internet. Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch should become another syncing client for your Apple Podcasts database much like the iPad or Apple TV. When there are new episodes, you should have the option to download them straight from Wi-Fi. For battery conscious users, I wouldn’t mind seeing an option to only download when connected from a charger as well. Bottom line is that I want my podcasts always downloaded and ready to go without having to think about if they are synced or not.
Show Notes Access
While this might be something you would use sparingly, I’d like the option to view show notes on the Apple Watch. A perfect example of this was during the a recent episode of Connected. There are a special URL mentioned during the show that I would have wanted to be able to click on, load in a Safari view on Apple Watch, and be able to get the joke that was being referenced. For a lot of podcasts, show notes can be a critical piece, and they are usually short enough to be able to be read on Apple Watch.
Siri Complication with Podcast Recommendation
I wrote a few weeks ago about how a a version of the Siri watch face inside of a complication would be a great addition. Apple Podcasts could be heavily integrated here to reccomend a show based on time of day, location, and what you have available in your library. Do you frequently listen to The Daily while making your breakfast in the morning? Apple Podcasts could suggest that through a Siri complication. I frequently listen to 9to5Mac Happy Hour during my Saturday runs, and the Workouts app should be able to auto-play that for me.
Are there any features of Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch that you’d like to see? I am so excited about how I can listen to podcasts on the go with just my Powerbeats Pro and my Apple Watch, so I hope Apple continues to iterate on the exerperience.