Apple is making a huge push with Podcasts with two big updates, one for iTunes users, the other for users of the official Podcasts iOS application for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. One notable addition is Siri integration. CarPlay, the new infotainment system for vehicles, is also fully supported by Podcasts now.
Whether it ceded to customer demands or simply felt more improvements were necessary, Apple decided to enahnce podcast browsing to allow iTunes users to quickly find episodes they haven’t listened to in the new Unplayed tab.
Episodes that are available to download or stream can be browsed in the Feed tab, and users can now save episodes to their computers’ hard drive for later listening. Also, episodes can now be automatically deleted after you play them.
These changes are all part of the iTunes 11.2 update which also packs miscellaneous fixes and enhancements. For example, it also fixes an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive when updating Genius.
But this is just scratching the surface of Apple’s massive Podcasts update. On iOS, a new version of the Podcasts application has been released sporting all-new features.
In addition to the browsing enhancements inherited from iTunes 11.2, Podcasts also lets you tap on links that appear in podcast and episode descriptions to open them in Safari, and ask Siri to play podcast episodes. Users can play specific podcasts or stations by just asking Siri to play them by name, such as “play TEDTalks.”
The new CarPlay infotainment system is now supported by Podcasts. Customers can start playing a station right from the stations list by just tapping the Play button next to the station name. Additionally, users can now share links to their favorite podcasts via AirDrop.
Podcasts 2.1 further resolves playback issues after syncing with iTunes. Stability while downloading podcasts is also improved.
The application is localized in over two dozen different languages, including English, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.
Podcasts 2.1 requires a device that supports iOS 7.0 or later, starting with iPhone 4, iPad second generation, and iPod touch fifth generation. Podcasts is a universal binary, meaning customers essentially download the same app for any one of the devices enumerated above. The app displays natively on all screen sizes and resolutions.