periodic posts and projects

Developing for Apple Watch

Apr 28, 2020

Over the last 6 weeks I’ve made best use of my time in Covid-19 related lockdown by not only teaching myself SwiftUI but putting that newly gained knowledge to some use and releasing a truly independent WatchOS App called Streamlets.

You might be thinking that 6 weeks isn’t long enough to learn a new language and release an App - and you’re probably right.

v1.0 was released on April 14th 2020, around 3 weeks after I picked up a SwiftUI manual1 and today v1.3 has just been approved - this is what v1.0 should have been.

v1.3 puts a few things right, not just defects but UI too. I’ve learnt a lot in the short space of time since the first release, including dealing with the variation in screen sizes on Apple Watch, working with AVPlayer for the first time to play audio and also listening and reacting to feedback from people around the world who’ve been good enough to buy it in its first few weeks - I’ve been blown away with the positivity of comments received.

The original idea was never meant to go as far as this, I just wanted an independent watch App that could play my favourite radio station2 while I ran, and I started off the whole process by creating a rough and ready App just for me but that I quickly saw potential in, especially as to how rapidly I was able to build it.

I initially struggled to find a good API at low cost that would enable me to add radio stations from around the world but thankfully I discovered the Community Radio Browser.

Alex has done a terrific job in providing this service for free and Streamlets wouldn’t be anything without his super web service. Its enabled me to create an App that can play thousands of community curated radio streams from across the globe, to which I’ve just added some useful features on top.

It’s now been exactly 2 weeks since the first release and I’ve pushed 6 versions in that time3, fixing defects and adding requested features but v1.3 will be the last for a little while.

Potentially there are other radio streaming Apps coming along from established names who will probably get more attention than my little App ever will - bad timing on my part perhaps but I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved in releasing the first truly independent streaming radio Watch App that enables you to;

  1. Access and play from over 25,000 stations on your wrist with no companion iPhone App needed.
  2. Run in the background and integrate with the Workouts App.
  3. Play the audio through a pair of bluetooth headphones/AirPods or the Watch speaker.

I still feel it has enough to differentiate itself from what may become a competitive space, so I’ll continue to develop it while people want it but I’m under no illusion that the App Store is a difficult place in which to achieve success … yet I think I’m Ok with that, after all, 6 weeks ago this was just an idea and at least I now get to listen to my favourite radio station when I run.

You can purchase Streamlets for your Apple Watch directly from the Apple Watch App Store.

  1. I highly recommend Hacking with WatchOS by Hacking with Swift↩︎

  2. BBC 6 Music if you’re interested. Especially Radcliffe and Maconie. ↩︎

  3. This feels excessive but surely I’m not the only one eagerly pushing updates so frequently? ↩︎