Overcast is one of the most well known podcast apps out there on the App Store, and a new update was rolled out, which gave the podcast app a complete overhaul. The overhaul of Overcast lead this to becoming known as Overcast 2, which besides improvements and additional features, also is now available on the App Store for free.
Overcast Creator, Marco Arment, who is also the co-founder of Tumblr and Instapaper, pushed this huge update out for Overcast, which he hopes will help people have a better experience using the popular app. Overcast 2 added two additional steaming options for users, one of which includes starting a podcast episode and letting it stream as you listen. Previously, people would have to wait for the episodes to complete the download before you could listen to it, which while was not a long wait in between downloading and listening it was annoying.
Another improvement to the streaming option includes Voice Boost and The Smart Speed, which are two audio engines used in the app that have gotten some extra love. Both of these audio features are optimized, which means the audio will sound much better on the app, and you also can use these while streaming too.
The overall user experience is also getting upgrades with Overcast 2, as bug fixes were also worked out and fixed. The main goal of this update was to just improve the performance and functionality of the app, but an enhanced social directory was also added to the app. This means that you can get and see recommendations of podcasts to listen to while you are searching around the directory, which gives this app a little bit more of a social interaction feature. While Arment thought previously that chapters were not needed, he has since changed his mind and now Overcast 2 supports chapters.
The podcast directory on Overcast 2 is also run by other users For iOS users who have an iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, you also can use 3D touch shortcuts on the app. There is a Play Next by Priority option added to the app, along with being able to connect with Apple Watches more easily. Users of the app also will notice that there are icon badge options available too with the new update. The easier integration between the app and the Apple Watch are going to help users stay connected to their favorite podcasts no matter where they are or what device they are using, and you can switch between devices.
While all of these improvements are great for Overcast 2, the biggest update and improvement is that it is now a free downloadable app through Apple iTunes. Arment said that he knew 80 percent of his users were using an “inferior app” which is why he decided to unlock all of the features for everyone at no cost to them. Most people previously were not willing to purchase the Overcast app, since there are so many other free podcast apps out there on the market, and in order to stay competitive, Arment had to do something drastic, hence why this app is now free with the updated version and features. Arment said that instead of not using Overcast at all and going elsewhere, he would rather see people using Overcast for free.
While it might be free to download Overcast 2.0, you can still support the app by donating $1 a month, and if you do choose to support the app with a $1 a month payment, Arment said that patrons could end up getting some specialized features for that in the future. He went onto say though that if you do not support with a $1 a month donation, it would be okay and there would not be hard feelings.
Previously you would have to get and unlock the special features by purchasing items in-app, but now Arment is looking at making it free with no pay walls, and then letting users decide if they want to support the product with a $1 donation. Arment said that if only 5 percent of customers gave $1 a month, then the app would match previous revenue, and it right now just means you are showing support for the product.
It will be interesting to see if other app developers go to this type of business model in the future, meaning unlocking the in-app purchases to make the app completely free, and then letting the customers decide if they are willing to support the app with a $1 donation. If Overcast 2.0 matches the previous revenue amounts, then it could manage to become a trendy business model for other developers out there who just want people to use their product.