[Article] In The Air #3

In The Dark’s Connor Walsh casts a techy eye over the changes to podcasting for iTunes and iPhone users.

Apple has changed the place for podcasts. This can affect you whether you use an iPod/iPhone or not.
The most apparent impact is if you use an Apple iPod Touch or iPhone to listen on the go.

Since the iPhone system software was refreshed in September to iOS 6, podcasts are no longer found in the Music app (the orange one) but instead have their own app called – wait for it – Podcasts.

And to get straight to the bad news, the app isn’t particularly smooth on older devices.

No matter what age iPhone/iPod you use, some functionality vanishes – namely, your device will no longer recognise a smart playlist of podcasts: this was a handy way to have a single list of new playlists that will play one after the other (see how to make one here) and still works fine in iTunes on your computer, but will no longer sync to your iPhone or iPod. Playing a podcast in a smart playlist on iTunes will not mark it as played, as far as the iPod is concerned.

The interface is new and requires some set-up time – while your list of subscriptions will be carried through automatically, you will have to go through and select within the app which ones you wish to keep updating. This has led to confusion for many users, some trying third party apps such as Downcast and Instacast. This can mean an iPhone user will be downloading multiple copies of the same audio file. A number of outlets, included This American Life and independent podcasters have reported 50 – 75% increases in downloads, and Apple device access, over late September and October when new software was released. So if you produce podcasts, watch out for a spike in downloads, which may ease as users adjust.