Overcast has been Improved

Overcast 5 has been improved for Apple Watch. Marco Arment, creator of Overcast, stated in his blog post that: “Overcast’s previous Apple Watch app really sucked.” He was able to make improvements to it after watchOS 5 was released.

Some improvements include:

Auto-Sync to Watch: This feature automatically tries to send your most recent podcasts to your Apple Watch whenever it gets a chance. “Just pick up your Watch and go”. This feature prevents the problems of having to manually sync anything and waiting for slow transfers.

Watch-crown volume control: The new design maintains the same scrollable pages of the previous version of Overcast 5, but they are now obvious, tactile cards. This design is more discoverable.

Search: You can search your podcasts and current episodes from the main screen, or go into a podcast’s screen to search its entire archive.

Siri Shortcuts: and support

For full details, you should go check out the blog post by Marco Arment. He suggests that you update your devices and then go get Overcast. I think these improvements have the potential to make life much less frustrating for people who like to listen to podcasts on their Apple Watch.

Forecast is a Podcast MP3 Encoder with Chapters

Forecast was created by Marco Arment. It is a Mac MP3 encoding and tagging tool for podcasters. It started out in beta, and is now available to everyone. Forecast is a tool that can save time for podcast producers.

The last thing podcast producers need is more tedious, manual steps to publish each episode. Forecast automates common workflows and saves time even if you never use chapters. And if you want to add chapters, it has never been easier.

Forecast has an autofill function that embeds artwork, title, and description in each MP3. Name your input files with the same prefix and numbering system each time (for example: atp100.wav, atp101.wav) and Forecast will automatically fill in the title, artwork, and episode number.

Forecast has a chapters function. Podcasters do not necessarily need to use Chapters if they do not want to. It is possible to use Forecast just for the autofill function.

If you do use the Chapter function, Forecast will remember and autofill the most recently used URL and/or image for each chapter title, saving you a bit of time if you have repeating chapters over multiple episodes or between multiple shows.

I recommend visiting the Forecast website to get the full details of what it can do. I listed just a couple of things here in this blog. Forecast is free. The latest version for macOS is Version 0.9 (123). You can download it from the Overcast website.

Ads Come to Overcast With Latest Update

Overcast logoMonetizing podcasts isn’t always easy. And apparently, the same rule applies to podcast-consumption apps. That’s the ultimate truth Marco Arment, the developer of iOS podcasting app Overcast, has determined. In a lengthy blog post, Arment breaks down the monetization tactics he’s tried during Overcast’s first two years. And while those tactics did show momentary glimpses of hope, none of them seemed likely to work long term. That got Arment to consider some new monetization options:

Ads are the great compromise: money needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of people choose free-with-ads over direct payment. Ads need not be a bad thing: when implemented respectfully, all parties can get what they want.

Most podcasts played in Overcast are funded by ads for this reason, and as a podcaster and (occasional) blogger myself, I already make most of my income from ads.

Prior to this move, Arment had tried in-app subscriptions and a Patreon campaign to try and make Overcast a profitable endeavor. But those systems fell short of the mark. Arment is hopeful that running display ads inside of his app will prove to be more profitable in the long run. Overcast users who want to banish display ads and unlock all of Overcast’s features can also now buy a $9.99 subscription for one year.

Overcast 2.0 is Free for Everyone

Overcast logoWhen Marco Arment released the first version of his podcast-consumption app, Overcast, it worked on a freemium model where users could pay a one-time fee of $4.99 to unlock all of the app’s features. Today, Arment announced the release of Overcast 2.0. This version will be completely free, with all features immediately available to all users.

Arment explained the reasons for this change on his website:

Overcast 1.0 locked the best features behind an in-app purchase, which about 20% of customers bought. This made enough money, but it had a huge downside:

80% of my customers were using an inferior app. The limited, locked version of Overcast without the purchase sure wasn’t the version I used, it wasn’t a great experience, and it wasn’t my best work.

With Overcast 2.0, I’ve changed that by unlocking everything, for everyone, for free. I’d rather have you using Overcast for free than not using it at all, and I want everyone to be using the good version of Overcast.

Arment is now asking Overcast users to instead sign up for a voluntary monthly subscription to help cover the costs of upkeep and development:

If you can pay, I’m trying to make up the revenue difference by offering a simple $1 monthly patronage. It’s completely optional, it doesn’t get you any additional features, and it doesn’t even auto-renew — it’s just a direct way to support Overcast’s ongoing development and hosting without having to make the app terrible for 80% of its users.

If only 5% of customers become monthly patrons, Overcast will match its previous revenue.

The Overcast developer may offer special incentives for subscribers in the future. For now, he’s seeing these voluntary subscriptions as a true “patronage model,” where users are paying for the app itself and its continued development.

Overcast is available as a free download from the App Store.