Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Redesigning Overcast for the Apple Watch

Marco Arment’s first attempt at a Watch app wasn’t perfect, but he has a new version of Overcast out that, he thinks, is a vast improvement:

Trying to match the structure of the iOS app was a mistake. For most types of apps, the Apple Watch today is best thought of not as a platform to port your app to, but a simple remote control or viewport into your iPhone app.

My initial app was easier to conceptualize and learn, and it closely matched the iOS app. But it just wasn’t very good in practice, and wasn’t usually better than taking out my phone.

The new app is a bit weird and polarizing, and has a learning curve, but it’s great in practice if it fits your preferences. (Just like the Apple Watch.)

Arment did nothing inherently wrong with trying to be on the Watch on day one, but this goes to show just how different its interaction model is compared to a phone. Only after using it did Arment discover how he was using it, and I imagine that’s the same for pretty much any app.

There’s a lot of pressure to be first on a new platform, but there are lots of great reasons to wait to experience the product first before trying to ship something.