On June 26, 2012, Apple finally launched a new Podcast app to make up for the kludgy way that Podcasts were handled on the iPhone and iPad. Unfortunately, this new Podcast app is so buggy, it has me going back to iTunes and Music in order to enjoy Podcasts.
Let’s face it, Podcasts rule. There are tens of thousands of free audio and video Podcasts that users can enjoy. The fact that you can subscribe to Podcasts and have them downloaded as they are released is quite convenient. Unfortunately, this new Podcast app from Apple DOES NOT automatically download Podcasts unless the app is open. There is a setting to “automatically download”, however, um, it just doesn’t work! One would assume automatic downloading would happen in the background, at least if the app was running in the background. Nope. It will only download when you open the app, go to the library, and open the Podcast. So much for automatic downloading…
The lack of automatic downloading is not the worst thing about this new app. If you have multiple Podcasts, it will keep playing them, as if they are a playlist. I found this out the hard way. I listen to the PBS News Hour every weeknight as I am falling to sleep. I woke up at 2am with my iPhone playing yesterday’s program! I had to grab my iPhone, unlock it, stop playback, and try to get back to sleep. Obnoxious!
Apparently, there is actually a sleep timer with this new app. I read that somewhere, and spent several minutes poking around to no avail. It turns out that you need to tap on the icon of the program in now playing, and it will reveal the controls. An icon for settings would have been better usability. When I was exploring for these features, I did tap on the program graphic, but it was too slow so I tapped again, and it cancelled it out. I tried holding my finger down on it. I told Siri to show me the controls, but I only have an iPhone 4, so it didn’t do anything! Thanks to C|NET for showing me how to access the controls. You’d think that’s Apple’s job, eh? Looking at the comments on the C|NET blog post, it looks like most people dislike this app.
The new Podcast app has a nice look to it, but that’s about it. It is buggy and annoying. I had to go back to iTunes and Music in order to get a decent night’s sleep. No, Apple, I don’t want to hear yesterday’s news at 2am.
I purchased a third-party app called “Podcaster” some time ago, but after purchasing it, I found out that it did not have the full PBS News Hour program. That’s pretty much 95% of my Podcast experience.
Leave a comment if you have any recommendations for a better Podcast experience. Actually, iTunes and Music aren’t so bad. You start the download in iTunes, and it plays in Music. It is a bit odd that iTunes for iOS is just a store front, but iTunes on a Mac or PC is a store, library, and player. All the more indication that Apple is losing its magic touch… I have to wonder whether they have ineffective quality assurance testing, or they know about these bugs, yet release the app anyway. I look forward to an update that fixes these glaring issues…