Not impressed with Apple's podcasts app

Argh. I downloaded the Apple Podcasts app in hopes that it would break me from needing to sync my phone with iTunes to pick up the latest podcasts, but after just a few minutes I am frustrated.  And the frustration continues after several days.

The first problem is that it seems to chew up processor time: I start the app and it hangs my phone for several seconds before it does something. I've had it hang entirely several times - it sits for a while and my iPhone returns me to the home screen. It would be nice if I knew what it was doing. (I've noticed this lately on my phone, so it may be something more than just the Podcasts app. I'm still on a 3GS.) Even when I go into a specific podcast track, something happens with the controls and I have to wait several seconds before I can do anything - like play the podcast.  It takes time before I can pause or use the other controls too.

Happily, the app does work smoothly with the earbud controls, like the Music app does. (Click to start / stop the track that is "now playing." Double click to jump to the next track.)

I like to listen to multiple podcasts in a session without having to look at the phone.  (Hate to take your hands off the wheel while driving, for example.) If I start a track from the "unlistened" list, the app correctly plays the next show in the sequence. Previously, the only I could do this was to setup a Podcasts playlist.

I like to listen to spoken-word podcasts at 2x, and this is available in the Podcast app (after several seconds delay as the app seems to do something in the background). Unfortunately, this app resets the speed setting on switching to the next podcast. Very annoying. Actually, I would love it if I could set the speed setting per podcast and have it remember permanently. (All spoken would be double speed, all music would be normal speed.)

The Podcasts app does not synchronize with podcasts downloaded and synced through iTunes.  Not important if I am only listening through the new app, but could be frustrating when I'm switching back and forth.

The screwy graphics on the settings page aren't helpful. It's supposed to be an old-school reel-to-reel tape machine, but why? There are things that look like they are buttons or something, but I discover are just part of the graphics. Is this more of their skewmorphism that gives us "leather" covers on the address book?

One of the draws of the app is supposed to be that I don't need to sync with iTunes in order to get the latest versions of the podcasts that I listen to. However, it seems to show me that there is a new podcast without downloading it. When I click to listen, it appears to me that it only then begins downloading the file. For large audio/video files, being on airplanes, or otherwise not connected, this does me absolutely no good.

I am not going to use this app.  If I'm really that worried about it, I suppose I could try Stitcher.

1 Comment(s)

Richie Rump said:

Try Podcaster. It's not without it's warts but it keeps everything in one place and you can import and export OPML files.

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