June 27, 2012
That’s Where The Podcasts Went!
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
Last week, some of the fine folks at appadvice.com noticed something strange in their developer build of iOS 6 - the podcasts tab was missing from the iTunes store. Also missing were the “genius,” “iTunes U,” and “more” tabs. iTunes U has, of course, been spun off into its own app. The question of the day, of course, was “Will Apple spin off podcasts into their very own app?”
On Tuesday, we got an answer as Apple released a brand new app aptly titled “Podcasts.”
According to the app description, the new Podcasts app list of features includes:
• Enjoy all of your audio and video podcasts in a single app
• Explore hundreds of thousands of podcasts including shows in over 40 languages
• Try the innovative new Top Stations feature to find new podcast series in a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more.
• Browse by Audio or Video podcasts, or see what's most popular in Top Charts
• Tap subscribe for your favorites and automatically receive new episodes for free as they become available • Stream episodes or download to listen while offline
• Skip forward and back using simple playback controls
• Turn on Sleep Timer to automatically stop playing a podcast while listening in bed
• Share your favorite episodes with friends using Twitter, Messages and Mail
• Optionally sync your favorite episodes from iTunes on your Mac or PC
• Sync your episode playback for seamless transition between devices
To download the app, you must have a device running iOS 5.1or later. The new app supports the iPhone 3GS, 4th generation iPod Touch and all three iterations of iPad.
This app also joins the rest of the Apple family of apps, which include their iWork and iLife suites, as well as iBooks, Friend Finder, and Newsstand.
Like the iBooks and iTunes U apps before it, the Podcasts app will load any podcasts you´ve already subscribed to, as well as present you with an option to search for more podcasts in the iTunes store. A simple tap of the button and the screen rotates, revealing the podcasts portion of the store. They´ve also got three options on the bottom of the screen for “Featured,” “Top Charts,” and “Search.” Tapping on your selected podcast rotates the screen once more, and your podcast´s art work is now displayed in the app.
As noted by Screen Casts Online creator Don McAllister, there doesn´t appear to be any support for adding RSS feeds in the new Podcasts app. Additionally, those running betas of the new iOS 6 have been having problems with the app, although these will likely be ironed out soon, as iOS 6 is still in beta.
This will likely be a welcome choice for many, as criticism for iTunes´ growing waistband was getting louder each day. Apple moved iTunes U as a standalone app several months ago when they announced the iBooks Author app for Mac. Possibly the best part about this app is the streaming of podcasts rather than having to download each episode locally. This could be seen as a nod that Apple will begin streaming their iTunes Match and other audio content as well.