Audible brings local audiobook playback to Apple Watch alongside watchOS 5

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 2018
Audible's mobile app was updated this week to support watchOS 5, and in the process gained the ability to listen to complete audiobooks without a nearby iPhone.

Audible app on Apple Watch


Books must first be synced through the Audible iPhone app, but playback then shifts fully to the Apple Watch. On top of standard media controls, playback options include speed, a sleep timer, and a chapter list.

Users can also browse all of the titles saved on a Watch, and delete ones that are finished or taking up space.

Support for caching audiobooks and podcasts was one of the most anticipated upgrades in watchOS 5, released on Monday. The Watch has supported music sync for some time, but until this week even Apple's own Podcasts app wouldn't sync episodes from an iPhone. This was a particular problem for fitness enthusiasts, who often listen to podcasts during running and lifting sessions.

The Audible app is a free download, and requires an iPhone with iOS 10 or later. Its accompanying service, however, costs $14.95 per month after a 30-day trial. Note that no active subscription is required to listen to books already acquired via Audible.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Does syncing require that the Watch be on the charger as is the case with the Apple Podcast app? That makes the Podcast app much less useful. I get that syncing probably takes a lot of juice but having to take the Watch off to initiate syncing is frustrating.

    The newest version of Overcast syncs podcasts while the Watch is not charging although it is slower than if it were charging. That allows automatic syncing to occur and you can keep the Watch on while it is syncing. 
  • Reply 2 of 11
    The Podcast and audiobook stand alone playback is the whole reason I was going to buy the Series 4 and finally retire the Series 0 I've had. However after seeing the Keynote I absolutely would've upgraded even if my Series 0 could update to WatchOS 5.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Overdrive, please start supporting Apple Watch too so that I can listen to audiobooks (for free, from my local library) stored locally on my Watch.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,862member
    This is great and because of it I may sign up, but I’m still hoping for Spotify and SiriusXM to also arrive shortly.
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 5 of 11
    I promptly uninstalled it from my watch. After installation, when listening to Audible from my phone, it would bring up the audible app on my watch instead of the Now Playing screen even though nothing was synced to my watch yet, it was intrusive and persistent. Although this is an Apple Watch app I've eagerly been awaiting I'll wait for another iteration to reinstall...
    edited September 2018 douglas baileybrocklee
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Sealed the deal. Series 4 incominngggggg  <3
  • Reply 7 of 11
    The stupid Watch apps won't play the audio/music from apps unless you have some Bluetooth headset, how lame is that, I should be able to choose the built-in speaker!
  • Reply 8 of 11
    tlcastle said:
    I promptly uninstalled it from my watch. After installation, when listening to Audible from my phone, it would bring up the audible app on my watch instead of the Now Playing screen even though nothing was synced to my watch yet, it was intrusive and persistent. Although this is an Apple Watch app I've eagerly been awaiting I'll wait for another iteration to reinstall...
    I found and did exactly the same... after trying for several attempts to get a book to load onto the watch. I’m sure they’ll fix it soon.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    anomeanome Posts: 1,270member
    About time, really. Just need the Apple iBooks app to allow for the same thing. (I have a lot of non-bought, for want of a better word, audiobooks, and Audible doesn't really manage those.)
  • Reply 10 of 11
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,862member
    The stupid Watch apps won't play the audio/music from apps unless you have some Bluetooth headset, how lame is that, I should be able to choose the built-in speaker!
    Are you serious? Besides walking around being a prick to everyone that's in earshot, do you have any concept of just how small that speaker is, how bad that small, mono speaker would sound, and how quickly you'd ruin it because it's not designed for playing the Baby Shark song (which I assume is your favorite) on repeat.

    I think that's the most ridiculous complaint I've heard about this device today. It's even worse than George saying an EKG is pointless or Avon claiming that the a round watch face would be more usable.

    If you really need a small speaker that will play music 3 feet below your ears and facing away from you could always design a BT stereo speaker system that is part of the Watch band or clips onto it. If you think there's a market then go for it.


    PS: Connecting to BT devices works great. I walk inside wearing my BT bone-conducting headphones and I say "Alexa, Connect" which will contact my Watch which will then re-route the audio to my Echos. 
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 11 of 11
    tlcastle said:
    I promptly uninstalled it from my watch. After installation, when listening to Audible from my phone, it would bring up the audible app on my watch instead of the Now Playing screen even though nothing was synced to my watch yet, it was intrusive and persistent. Although this is an Apple Watch app I've eagerly been awaiting I'll wait for another iteration to reinstall...
     I found that the app would not control audible play back on the phone. ( I have successfully loaded audiobooks on to my watch and been able to start playback from my watch). This can be very frustrating when I’m in my car listening to audible on my CarPlay stereo and attempting to control my Audible while navigating with the maps. Will probably uninstall Audible app on the watch until this issue is fixed 
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