Improvements to the app are long overdue since the Podcasts feature was broken out from iTunes as a standalone app last fall.

Apple Podcasts App

When Apple broke out Podcasts as a separate iOS app from iTunes last year, a rather glaring omission was the ability to create playlists. Six months later, Apple has added that feature along with several other improvements to the app in an update released Thursday.

Podcasts 1.2 updateNew features in the Podcasts 1.2 update include: playlists synced from iTunes now appear in the app; the ability to create automatically updating stations featuring preferred podcasts; customized stations that are stored in iCloud and automatically synced across your iCloud-enabled devices; a choice to start playing either the newest or oldest episode; and the ability to add any podcast episodes to On the Go playlists.

Apple has also toned down some of the corny design to make it look more like the iTunes app and less like an old tapedeck — perhaps related to Jony Ive’s elevation to head of software and hardware design at Apple — and a playback bug has been fixed.

Apple’s Podcasts app has been lambasted by users since its introduction last fall (see the ratings and reviews in the App Store). The updated design and functionality should be welcome news to those frustrated with the iOS Podcasts experience; that is unless they’ve moved on to any number of third-party podcast apps that have moved in to fill the void.

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  1. Does it support podcasts with chapters? If not, I’m still sticking with the old Music app. Can’t believe it’s still better for podcast playback than the supposed “Podcast” app.

    1. It does support chapters.

      It seems to be worth installing the app, finally :)

  2. Short version of the release notes:

    It works now.

    1. Correction: “It has fewer fundamental flaws.”

  3. Jim Hassinger Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Presumably, after they got the evil Scott out of there, Jony Ive fixed up the interface. No scarce resources for stupid tape player. And it actually gives youthe ability to stream or play the latest two (your decision) of a podcast from your iThing.

  4. WOO!!! Maybe iOS 7 will get a much needed facelift!

  5. Paul Franceus Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Hated that stupid tape deck. Pointless.

  6. Jerry Ballard Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Now, make the jump forward/back controls big areas instead of tiny buttons (to allow eyes free) and ill try it again. Until then , it’s still pocket Casts by shifty jelly for me.

  7. Awesome! Lets you think maybe iOS 7 will get a huge facelift

  8. Does the device now remember that a podcast was playing, not music, so when I hit the play button on the headphone a day later it continues where it left off instead of playing a random song?

    1. No, unfortunately not. At least not on mine.

  9. Scott Falkner Thursday, March 21, 2013

    It could still be complete crap and yet better than the current version. Ye gods is that thing a fucking heap of shit.

  10. Since I still possess – but haven’t used in a decade – a TEAC 10″ Reel to Reel – I had a soft spot for the tapedeck in the previous podcasts app. That said, it seemed more like an exercise in “see what we can do” rather than “this is a very practical way to manage your podcast experience” approach.

    I did like how the tape guides lifted off in fast forward/rewind and how the take up spools filled or emptied as the podcast progressed, but it ultimately felt more like a history lesson than a useful metaphor. Bit like Microsoft’s persistent use of a floppy disk as a metaphor for the “save” function in Office.

    1. The reel to reel was pretty, but it didn’t add any functionality.
      You couldn’t grab & rewind the tape etc. The remaining duration was nice but it was too much wasted space for something that essentially did nothing.

      I’d rather Apple spent it’s time on making basic features work like syncing play status with iTunes before adding layers of pixie dust.

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