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.
Introducing the Podcasts app, an amazing way to discover, subscribe to, and play your favorite podcasts. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts in the Featured tab, or browse Top Charts to see what's hot right now. Add your favorite podcasts to personal stations that stay up to date when new episodes become available. You can sync playlists from iTunes, or create an On-The-Go playlist to play just the episodes you want. iCloud keeps your subscriptions, stations, and play position in-sync across all your devices, computers, and Apple TV.
What's new in this version:
Podcasts 2.2 includes a number of minor performance improvements and adds support for iOS 8.