Overcast developer nixes standalone podcasts on Apple Watch, citing watchOS 4 changes

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Via a Thursday iPhone app update, support for playing podcasts directly on an Apple Watch — through a feature called "Send to Watch" — was removed from Overcast, something its developer blamed on changes coming with this fall's watchOS 4.

The feature, added in April, depended on a common workaround for background audio in watchOS 3, Marco Arment said in a blog post. That workaround has reportedly been broken in watchOS 4, and Arment added that while there is one alternative, it wouldn't be good enough to "confidently ship" and he'd rather spend development time on requested features for the iPhone and iPad.

As few as 0.1 percent of Overcast users were actually taking advantage of "Send to Watch," and there were many negative reviews, he noted. People will still be able to use an Apple Watch to remotely control iPhone playback.

Reducing the Watch's dependence on the iPhone has become a goal for both Apple and third-party developers. The Series 2, for instance, includes its own GPS receiver, making it possible to use some location-based apps without having an iPhone in tow.

The biggest shift may be coming with this fall's "Series 3," which is expected to adopt LTE cellular, letting many more apps operate independently. The wearable may also boast a new external design.

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