I’ve been listening to (and creating) podcasts since 2005 and I’ve always wanted to find a great iOS app that allows me to subscribe and listen to shows. Podcasts by Apple is that app. It works great, syncs to iCloud, allows selecting and subscribing to shows and has an inviting user interface. The thing I really can’t figure out is why people are so against it.
If you take a peek at the user reviews in iTunes for the Podcast app, you’ll see thousands of one star reviews. Now historically the iTunes store is sometimes like a zoo of confused users. You can scan for hours and see a huge amount of reviews from people who seemingly have trouble with technology. Rather than reviewing the actual piece of software, the user reviews are sort of a psychiatrist couch to lay down and work out your life troubles. Hundreds of hours of work to craft a solid app are shot down in an instant when a user “could not load app, just deleted it” or any number of issues. Most good software is reviewed positively, the iTunes store reviews are a good thing, but sometimes the negative comments can be over whelming. Which is the case with this poor little podcast app.
The app itself is easy to use. There is a built in store, just like iTunes or iBooks, and you can search around for thousands of free podcasts on any topic imaginable. If you are unfamiliar with podcasts, do check into them, they are a great source of info and you cannot beat the price. Once you find a show you want, you just click to subscribe to it. New episodes can be downloaded automatically and your podcasts and your listening position sync via iCloud to all your iOS devices. So once I subscribe to a show, it shows up on my iPad, iPad mini and iPhone. You can download audio or video shows, see what is on the top of the charts as well as do keyword searches. There is even a Top Stations feature which works like a radio, you can “tune” and scan through shows to sample ones that may be of interest. Playback is easy, you can scan ahead or back in the show 10 or 30 seconds as well as change the playback speed. Many have commented on Apple’s Skeuomorphism design choices (where software and apps look like real life objects) and don’t love the fact that the actual playback screen resembles a reel to reel tape recorder, but I think it looks fine.
Do I have any problems with the app? No! It works, it syncs, I use it daily. I can’t understand the animosity toward the app, which provides you with thousands of free shows, and keeps track of everything, from subscriptions to downloads. Give it a try, don’t be mislead by the reviews. I have tried almost every other podcast app out there, there are several, but most have such convoluted interfaces I end up deleting them. For now I am sticking with Apple’s Podcast app. I don’t care what anyone says. I love it.