Yesterday, I hurried home to upgrade my iOS devices to iOS 6, expecting it to go smoothly. I have an iPad (3rd Gen) and a 4th Gen iPod touch. I did the iPad first and was very happy to learn that Siri is now enabled. I spent some time playing with that on the iPad while my iPod updated. I knew I wasn’t going to get full blown Siri on my iPod, but I wasn’t expecting what I did get.
Let me backtrack a bit. I am an avid podcast listener (mostly audio podcasts). I drive a lot. I’ve put 10,000 miles on since June this year for a new business I’m involved with. So I have a lot of windshield time. That time is spent listening to podcasts and audio books. I bought the iPod touch because my old 30gig iPod just wasn’t cutting it anymore with a weak battery and lack of control though my car audio system (which has an iPod dock connection). The new iPod was perfect for my use. I would go though my podcasts that had been downloaded to my Mac and pick out the episodes I wanted to listen to that day and put them in a playlist. Then when I was plugged into the car, I would hit play and they would play, one by one, in the order I wanted them to. When I got out of the car, the playback would stop. When I got back in the car the playback would resume without me having to touch anything.
Much to my surprise, iOS 6 removed podcasts from the music app completely. At first, I didn’t think that would be a problem since they did include the new “podcasts” app. Surely Apple wouldn’t screw up podcasts! Well, they did. The problem with the new podcasts app is there is no way to do playlists. You can set it up to play all the episodes of a particular podcast (In the wrong order I might add) but there is no way to setup a playlist of episodes from different podcast feeds. The new “podcasts” app is NOT a great app. It looks like, to me, that Apple decided to force everyone to use this app instead of how iPods have worked since they added podcast support back in 2005.
Another thing wrong with the Podcasts app, for listeners, is that if the podcast isn’t listed on iTunes, and there are 1000’s of them that are not for one reason or another, you cannot easily find or subscribe to them inside the app. There is a way to do it, but it’s not easy. This is going to make it even harder for people to consume podcasts. This has been a problem from the beginning of podcasting and now, at least in the Apple world, it’s even worse.
In my case, I am trying out Downcast, a podcast downloading and listening app for iPod touch, iPad and iPhone. It still doesn’t have individual episode playlists, but it does allow me to make a playlist of the unplayed episodes of selected podcasts which should be OK. I will be testing this over the next few weeks and I’m sure I will find a way to do it the way I want.
I get the feeling that Apple wants to make it harder to consume free content on their devices in favor of the paid content they have in the itunes store. Shame on you Apple!