Apple Sports App First Impressions: ‘Simplicity’ Doesn’t Excuse Lack of Features

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On Wednesday, Apple announced the launch of their new Apple Sports app. The product was designed with “speed and simplicity” in mind. It offers live scores, DraftKings sports betting odds, statistics, and standings.

That’s about it. The announcement made it the top sports app in the Apple Store. While the features sound pretty good to the average sports fan, there’s a reason why the app leaves much to be desired. It just doesn’t compare with what’s already available on the market.

Let’s dive into our Apple Sports app first impressions, including how it integrates betting odds from DraftKings and what can improve the product.

Setting Up the Apple Sports App

First off, Apple Sports is tailored for the iPhone and compatible with devices using iOS 17.2 and higher. As with typical sports mobile apps, it throws you into the customization options first. You can select what leagues and teams you want to follow.

While you can’t follow college sports specifically, you can follow by conference. Selecting favorite leagues, conferences, and teams is done by highlighting the star next to it.

An immediate glaring issue right off the bat is the omission of NFL and college football. While it’s true these aren’t in season, not even having placeholders seems a bit odd, simply when factoring in popularity.

It will make sense later on why football isn’t in the app yet. But not even having it will instantly throw off exclusive football fans.

Sports Betting Link: How it Implements DraftKings Odds

Before diving into more specifics, let’s discuss the sports betting angle on the Apple Sports app. Betting odds are listed without bells and whistles – you get moneylines, spreads, and totals, and that’s about it. There’s nothing to tap on or select.

A DraftKings spokesperson confirmed with multiple media outlets that the odds listed in the app are from the said operator. But you would have no way of knowing beyond that as there are no DraftKings logos on the app, nor is there a reference to the press release.

While the basic odds are fine, the implementation is very lacking. With Apple’s usual innovation and the link with DK, you’d think there would be quick access to game-specific markets, player props, and a lot more.

Apple Sports In-App Photos (Click to Enlarge)

Big 12 games on Apple Sports app Future game view on Apple Sports app Play-by-play view on Apple Sports app Live in-game view on Apple Sports app

Features in the Apple Sports App

When you’re done customizing, you can now view games by a specific league or conference, your favorite leagues, or by favorite teams. There’s quick access to view yesterday’s scores, today’s scores, and the future schedule based on the category.

Again, there are a few major issues here. If you want information from games that happened before yesterday, it’s not accessible. Anywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever used a sports app that didn’t provide scores prior to 24 hours ago.

You can’t tap a schedule icon or date to change, either. If you try to tap on the team for more information, you’ll be out of luck. Again, in another rare sports app instance, selecting the team does nothing for you.

For future games, you get up to a week of information. You can tap on the game, and it’ll provide current betting odds, standings for the league or conference, and information such as date, time, and venue.

You see more information when checking in during live games or completed contests. This includes box scores and play-by-play info. Betting odds also remain even for ended games.

There are no aggregated news links; some people may welcome the lack of editorials. But there’s also no team-specific news, such as injury reports or transactions. On the bright side, no ads interrupt the experience, which is nice to see.

Final Thoughts and What Could Improve

The Apple Sports app is, in one word, disappointing. If this product had a “beta” label next to it, I’d be more forgiving. But the final product not only lacks any innovation, but it’s also missing numerous features from almost any other mainstream sports app. You can find more valuable team and player information on the DraftKings app itself.

I appreciate the “speed and simplicity” concept of the app, but that doesn’t excuse not having any useful features. You can quickly pull up this information now from the apps of ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, etc. All of these apps are optimized for recent and current phones on both iOS and Android.

Not having any sections for teams and players isn’t excusable. You’re out of luck if you want to pull up a game log for a specific player or team schedule. That’s not good when you can Google that information, and the search engine directly provides that data without going to a different site.

In addition to adding those basics, I’d like to see something that enhances sports betting coverage. It would be great to quickly run through live odds for various markets, even if it’s limited for future games. More speed is admittedly needed in many betting apps, and perhaps a bridge of finding odds on the Apple Sports app and selecting them to load up on the DraftKings app quickly would be valuable to bettors.

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About the Author
Brian Spaen

Brian Spaen

Managing Editor
Brian Spaen is the managing editor for Gaming Today. He has been a content writer and editor in various industries, including sports betting, environmental technology, and higher education. Brian is a graduate of Iowa State University and currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa.

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