I listen to quite a few podcasts on music, tech, language and photography. There have been 3rd party podcast apps around for some time but I have never bothered. I am sure many of them had lots of useful features but the built in player was good enough and trying out a bunch of apps for a few features wasn’t worth the trouble. Since Apple released their Podcast app I figured I would try it out.
Overall I like the app. The Podcast Catalog very prominent and pretty easy to use. Typically I look for podcasts I have heard of from other shows and don’t browse for podcasts. Using the search option I added some of the podcasts I already listen to.
I have beed using the skip forward 30 and back 10 seconds. Skipping a particular rant by the podcaster, or when I realize that I was not paying attention it is easier than trying to scrub back or forward 30 seconds or a minute.
The main player view is based on a dark Tape-Deck looking UI. When was the last time you saw a tape deck? I guess it is intend to look retro but it takes up a good amount of the UI space and provides no functionality. The 2x faster and half speed slower speed button is now replaced by a turtle/hare switch. It’s cute, I get it, but I would preferred this switch function with finer adjustments. Other buttons include the social sharing buttons, because everything now must include social sharing buttons. Unfortunately rather than sharing the episode you are listening to it only sends out the general podcast feed URL.
A couple things I did notice that appear to be missing.
- The description is no longer available. Some podcasts put useful information here, notes on the speaker than can be reviewed during the podcasts, or translations for some of the foreign language podcasts.
- The ability to manually sort the playlist, you can sort the podcasts by data either ascending or descending. This is not a big deal I did use a synced iTunes playlist that was not always sorted by date.
I was surprised that podcast subscriptions where not synced over iCloud. Especially since the episodes can be streamed and no longer need to downloaded. Podcasts can still be managed under iTunes and if you want them synced you must use iTunes. I hope this is the beginning of Apple moving some of the clutter out of iTunes and perhaps making it a better music manager.
The Apps does require iOS 5.1 and will run on the iPhone 3GS and higher.
Podcasts at the App Store