Podcasts have grown in popularity in recent years as smartphone use has exploded. Constantly-connected mobile devices that can not only download but also stream podcasts live from anywhere with a wireless signal make them more readily available than ever before -- so much so that Apple designed and released a dedicated Podcasts app in mid-2012. The app adheres to Apple's strict no-frills design policies and looks wonderful, but has some glaring problems that have still not been remedied after months in the App Store.
The Podcasts App is classic Apple. Open it and you're immediately shown tiles of each of the podcasts you are subscribed to, each with a notification signifying how many new episodes are available. Actively subscribe and the app can download those to your device as soon as they become available and send you an alert. Alerts and auto download are available on a per-podcast basis, which is great. The catalog is designed as a radio dial and separates audio and video podcasts. Without an actual search box, however, it's not easy to find any one podcast from within the app. Often you'll be sent to the iTunes store, which is still slow and buggy in delivering podcasts. This alone makes other podcast apps that offer all-in-one solutions more manageable.
Apple's Podcasts app is attractive, intuitive, and runs well when playing podcasts. Searching for new podcasts, deleting old episodes, and managing what you've listened to, however, is less user-friendly, not to mention the off and on crashing issues when streaming instead of playing a downloaded file. While this is much better than streaming off iTunes, there are still some issues that Apple has to address with this app.
Podcasts app is the easiest way to discover, subscribe to and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts from the Podcasts Catalog, and play the most popular podcasts, organized for you by topic, with the all-new Top Stations feature.
- 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