I love podcasts. I probably love them too much. I listen to several every week; while I work, while I drive, while I cool and any other moment I can get away with. Last year I discovered Instacast and promptly switched from iTunes in order to listen to podcasts on the go. This week Apple released their own a mobile app, Podcasts.
There is always concern when a platform maker pushes into third party territory. Whether this was ever actually the case with Apple and podcasts is debatable. Having used the new app I don’t think Instacast has anything to worry about. Podcasts is great for finding new podcasts, but management is mediocre. Syncing, with iTunes or other devices, leaves much to be desired. This is a major concern when it comes to syndicated content, like podcasts. The design of Apple’s app is certainly more skeuomorphic than others, but is less heavy handed than many of their staple apps. Apple has done a nice job, but until they figure out syncing and organization I am not tempted to switch from Instacast.
The really encouraging thing about Apple’s app is what it represents. Apple is featuring a new, largely disintermediated media form in its own app. Once I discovered this new form of talk radio that catered to my specific interests I couldn’t go back. I suspect that as more people discover podcasts they won’t go back either, they might even start one of their own. Once they outgrow Apple’s app, there are some powerful choices to turn to.