A short while ago, Apple released their official Podcasts app on the App Store. The release wasn’t exactly a surprise, as it was rumored to be in the works for some time now.

The new Podcasts app is a free universal download, and serves as a much needed way to manage podcasts. Granted there are other podcast apps available on the App Store, but this is the first time that we’ve seen something from Apple directly.

Why it took Apple so long to create a podcast management app is anyone’s guess. Whatever their reasoning, the bottom line is that it’s finally here. Check inside for a full hands on video walkthrough of Apple’s new Podcasts app.

Apple’s new podcast app is a like a combination of the iTunes podcast section mixed with the stock Music app. Apple has included some nice UI elements like reel to reel tape that actually animates as you progress through the podcast, an interesting radio-dial interface to sort through popular podcasts, and more.

If you’re a serious podcast connoisseur, you’ll probably end up using the Catalogue option instead of Apple’s new Top Station feature. The Top Station feature, while nice, is quite limited when it comes to discovering new podcasts. The Catalogue option is more or less the same exact interface you’ve been using via iTunes, yet integrated directly into the new Podcasts app.

I’ve also noticed that there doesn’t appear to be iCloud enabled syncing between two or more iOS devices. Apple claims there’s syncing in the description on the App Store, but I think they’re referring to syncing between a desktop and a mobile device. Until true Cloud syncing gets implemented, this app won’t be able to compete with the likes of Instacast and other “pro” podcast apps.

Have you tried the new Podcasts app out yet? If so, leave some feedback in the comment section below.

Update: Okay, there is syncing between devices, but perhaps not like you might have imagined. If you download the exact same podcasts on both devices, then their playback positions will sync via iCloud. This generally works for me, but not always. It’s best to totally kill the app and restart it to have a better chance of the playback positions matching the position on the device that you last used to listen to your podcast.

What doesn’t appear to be implemented is syncing the actual podcast downloads. So if I download The Talk Show on my iPad, it won’t show up on my iPhone. But if I go and later manually download it on my iPhone, the playback positions between the two devices will sync, assuming that you downloaded the exact same episode.

So, yeah, there is syncing; it’s just clunky, and not all that great at the moment.

  • Loopthree

    Is this a demo or a review?
    I’m glad they brought out a native app, but the fundamental attribute that you’d expect it to have (itunes sync) is almost useless. Disappointing, even for a 1.0.

    • Greg Hao

      The crew here certainly do seem very fanboyish but the new guy seems, at least so far, to be a bit more objective.

      • I wouldn’t call us “fanboys”. Obviously we are rooting for, and do prefer Apple products in most cases, otherwise, why write for an Apple-centric blog? But we aren’t blindly enthused over everything Apple does, either. I think I can safely speak for everyone at iDB when I say this.

      • Greg Hao

        Heh, that’s why I said -ish. But seriously, I don’t begrudge you your Apple-centricness because this is an Apple-centric blog; merely agreeing that there is a strong bias here towards Apple.

    • The video? It’s neither. It’s just a walkthrough showcasing all of the features. No where was I overly biased either for or against the app. I just laid all of the functionality on the table for you to decide. And if you want my opinion, I think the app is lacking. I prefer Instacast.

      Honestly, I’m not sure how or why you felt this post was biased? If anything, it shows that Apple still has some work to do to catch up with professional apps like Instacast.

      • Loopthree

        Well I’m really grateful for the hard work you put into your videos, but I just think that (in this case) you’ve concentrated on the positives, and pretty much omitted the rather glaring negatives. It just annoys me when it seems that Apple are being lazy, and I think that most people would agree that this app is sub-par at best.
        I think Apple products are usually second to none, but I’d still like to see you rip them to pieces when it’s appropriate! 😛

      • I agree, this podcasts app is also very well made I was very impressed by the UI also

    • SimonReidy

      I don’t there’s anything wrong with Jeff’s vid or mini-review, however I agree massively with this line “apple have so many resources available to them, this app should be awesome”

      I can’t tell you how much I think this applies to iOS6 across the board. Apple have had a whole year. In that time Android went from a fugly dysfunctional POS to a beautiful modern UI with Icecream sandwich within a year, while adding a multitude of features. I’m not a fan of Android, but it amazes me how slow Apple has gotten at drip-feeding insignificant updates to us. Let’s face it, iOS6 should have been given a massive UI overhaul to bring it up to modern visual design standards. Instead Apple has chosen a different design aesthetic for every native app, while leaving the underlying OS’s visuals essentially the same as they were in 2007.

      It was forgivable with iOS5 as that genuinely gave us a heap of useful new functionality. IOS6 is still cool, but I bet you every single one of you are just a little bit dissapointed if you’re honest with yourselves.

      I won’t be switching or anything as I love Apple hardware and the iOS experience is still great, but if it weren’t for the ability to jailbreak to add all the missing features I require, I would be forced to switch to Windows Phone 8 or Android.

      Apple is killing it with laptops and OSX, but iOS and the new iPhone have now got some serious catching up to do.

  • I just downloaded it because of your article…

    I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed. 🙁

  • I think I understand what they’re doing with the syncing. Think of iBooks. You don’t automatically download the books to your devices. You have to “choose” what you want on your device. After that they will sync the current “page”. It’s just a different way of thinking… make sense?

    • Greg Hao

      You can choose to sync all your books through iTunes.

    • The syncing is a mess right now.

  • Greg Hao

    Agreed with below. This seems more like a demo than a review and frankly, based on the little bit of information, this is a pretty useless app.

    Why would someone who listens across their devices use this very rudimentary program if it does such a shit job of managing podcasts. I don’t subscribe to a lot of podcasts but I don’t understand why people deem the podcast sync feature in iTunes to be so bad. Seems to me other than some glitz and glamour, this podcast app offers no advantage over iTunes.

  • MAMZING app :O
    Great job Apple!

  • iCatcher! is still the best iOS podcast app

  • The inability to add podcasts outside of Apple’s podcasts ecosystem is a dealbreaker for me since I listen to a number of feeds that don’t exist in iTunes.

    Although, I really like the auto-download feature, I’m going to have to stick with Pocket Casts for now.

  • jordandev

    Instacast, Downcast, Pocket Casts, and iCatcher are all way superior.

    • You forgot “Podcaster” (it was the first Podcast app on the appstore)!

  • Is there some way to control the auto downloads so that they are wifi only? Or maybe that’s the only way the auto download function works? It would be good to know. I don’t want a huge cellular data bill.

  • you must answer your missed call..