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.