Much to my disappointment, Apple today released a dedicated Podcasts app for iOS. Surprisingly, this isn’t an addition to iOS 6; it’s available to download off the App Store right now for iDevices running iOS 5.1 or later.
The new app takes on a very similar interface to iBooks: you can browse your library of podcasts from the app and also get to a dedicated Podcast store by tapping on a button. The “bookshelf” will rotate like in iBooks and present you with a list of available podcasts.
Podcasts also shows off iOS 6’s updated UI – at least, in the library side. iOS used to have buttons that simply glowed when they were selected. Now, they depress and glow, although the latter effect has been toned down quite a bit. Unfortunately, not everything has been given an overhaul for the better.
When you start to play a podcast, you’re greeted with the image of that podcast. If you slide the image up, however, you’ll see the monstrosity that Apple has created. It’s a new music playback interface – in the style of some old music player. There’s a tape that gradually moves to the other side as you’re playing a podcast, a slow/fast switch, and a sleep timer, plus all of the normal playback buttons that you’re familiar with.
The app works very well, but that new playback interface is really stupid. In my opinion, the entire app is stupid. Like I’ve said before, Apple should have just kept podcasts in the music app; even better, Apple should have just kept the Music and Videos apps in the iPod app. This separation of similar apps seems to be an ongoing theme with Apple, and it isn’t a good one.
Another ongoing theme is the real-life textures and interfaces that the company keeps injecting into all of its products. I have a feeling that this tape player-esque design may find its way into the music app, and that maybe the Videos app will take on the form of a VCR at some point.
The app does its job well, and it is free, but I still think it’s ridiculous for Apple to keep cluttering up the homescreens on my iDevices. If you want to try it out, you can find it on the App Store at the link below. It’s compatible with the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S; iPod touch 4th gen; and any iPad.
What are your feelings on the new Podcasts app?
Download: App Store