It’s more reliable in downloading podcasts into Apple Watch. It succeeds more frequently than it fails and it shows the download progress. Sometimes it takes a long time to download or pauses without warning. Watchcast often goes into endless loops in trying to download and can be painfully slow. But Outcast has annoying flaws. Among them, in the watch, it doesn’t show the time progress when a podcast is played (it keeps showing the time where you started to play); you can’t use the volume control embedded in it, you have to go to the Now Playing screen for the volume; no back button to navigate in the app, making it confusing to go back (you have to press the podcast title block at the top to go back to the Episodes screen); and no app controls in your iPhone, everything is done through the Apple Watch, searching, selecting, and downloading episodes. Watchcast has a better interface in the iPhone app with a bigger screen and features which makes it easier to navigate and it can be programmed to automatically grab the latest episode from a particular show. The Outcast iPhone app is virtually useless in the phone, you can only get an “URL feed” if you type exactly the correct address (as if people know it by heart) and transfer podcasts from another app using OPML files which didn’t work at all with the Watchcast and Podcasts apps—couldn’t find that OPML feature in these apps. I’m glad there are more choices in untethered podcast apps for the Apple Watch, it used to be a desert there. But so far I haven’t seen any podcast apps that it’s as pleasant to use as the iPhone Podcast app. And Apple is also ruining the experience by not letting the audio play through the watch speaker—forcing the use of wireless headphones and with all the hassle that goes with it, setting up, pairing, etc, wasting more time before my workout or chore. Apple should be adding features people enjoy, not taking them away.
Crunchy Bagel from Outcast responded to my review: “Thanks for your feedback and review! I just wanted to point out that it's not possible for us to control the volume (just the way the watch works). We're considering adding an option to discover and subscribe to podcasts via the iPhone app, but we're primarily focussed on it being a standalone Apple Watch app currently.”
I’m pleased to hear from them so quickly. They seem to care about their product. I hope they get the auto subscribe feature working so you can get the latest episode of your show without wasting time. But I still think there’s much more the iPhone app can do besides the two things it does now; that way it’s all set to go in the Apple Watch before you use it on the run—time saving is essential for this wearable devices (it’s a pain and dangerous tinkering with your watch while jogging or evading traffic).