App review: “Podcasts” (Apple, Inc)

This post is about Apple‘s new Podcasts application, version 1.0.  It breaks out the podcasting functionality of the iOS “Music” application into its own app, a move that is long overdue.  I wanted to like this application so badly.  But in the end it’s just “meh”.  Here’s why:

Pros:

  • Can subscribe to and browse available podcasts directly from the app
  • Can see most-recent episodes of a subscribed podcast without leaving the app and without syncing to your computer
  • New jump-forward-10-seconds button
  • Big artwork; nice skeuomorphic UI that looks like an old-school reel-to-reel tapedeck (looks stunningly real).

Cons:

  • Long startup time (1 min+) on the most-recent Apple phone, the iPhone 4S, during which time the app is completely unresponsive
  • Crashy
  • Buttons & timeline scroll thumb too small to operate nicely
  • Jump backward button only 10 seconds; 15 or 20 seconds seems like a more useful amount of time.
  • App constantly forgetting episodes previously downloaded.
  • Podcasts that are being streamed sometimes do not start; much quicker to stream via the iOS iTunes store
  • Too many animations going from the timeline view back to the list of podcasts — navigation is pretty but takes too long.

Out of all these cons I’d say the biggest two are the long startup time and failure to play streamed podcasts.  Failure to play streamed podcasts wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t prematurely delete the downloaded ones that were only partially played.

A good start; looking forward to the next version!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.