Podcast app

iOS podcast app Overcast adds streaming, drops price for free – TechCrunch

Marco Arment has just released a major update to his popular podcast app for iOS, Covered. This update brings many under the hood improvements along with some major new features. Arment is also completely changing its pricing model as the app is now completely free with an optional referral subscription.

I’ve been using Overcast for over a year now, and there are many unique features that make it my favorite podcast app. You won’t find these features in any other podcast app. For example, Smart Speed ​​speeds up silences – it makes podcasts shorter without making podcasters look weird. Voice Boost fixes poorly mixed podcasts by leveling vocals.

And yet, you had to make an in-app purchase of $5 to unlock these innovative features in version 1. said that about 20% of Overcast users have paid for the full version. This freemium model generated healthy revenue, but also meant that 80% of Overcast users only had the basic features. In other words, getting them to understand why Overcast was better than the default Podcasts app on iOS was tough.

That’s why Arment is trying something radically new by removing the in-app purchase and introducing an optional referral subscription. If you like the app, you can become a patron for $1 per month. To be clear, this purchase does not unlock anything in the app. It’s just a new way to support future development. With this change, many more users will benefit from Overcast’s differentiating features.

Besides making the app free, there are a few new features in Overcast 2.0, starting with streaming. There are now three parameters as you can see in the top screenshot. You can download every episode over Wi-Fi, download every episode over Wi-Fi and Cellular, or stream every episode. If you choose the last option, new episodes will not be downloaded automatically.

Instead, when you tap on an episode, it immediately starts playing and buffers the rest of the episode. Once Overcast buffers the entire episode, the app keeps the file and it will stay on your phone as a downloaded episode. So it’s a kind of hybrid model between streaming and downloading that works quite well. When you stream an episode, you can enjoy Smart Speed ​​and you won’t have to re-stream the episode once it’s downloaded.

The other big new user-facing feature is chapters. Very few podcasts support chapters, but the app will now show a bar below the artwork to give you the name of the current chapter. In the show notes, you will find a table of contents to jump to a particular chapter. Navigating through a 90 minute audio file can be tedious, and chapters are definitely a nice feature. I hope other podcasts will support chapters in the future.

Finally, there are many small improvements. Smart Speed ​​and Voice Boost should sound better, the app is easier on battery life, and the podcast directory is now powered by the user base. The app also supports new iPhone and iPad features, such as 3D Touch on the Home screen, Split View and Slide Over on the iPad.

Overcast 1.0 was already one of my favorite iPhone apps. The second version adds a bunch of features without making the interface more complicated. Now that everything is free, there’s no reason for you to continue using the Podcasts app on Overcast.