Today, Apple released iOS 9 and will shortly release Watch OS 2 to the world. We know that our iOS customers are really excited about all the possibilities these two new releases bring. We also know that we’ve been very quiet recently about what our intentions for Pocket Weather Australia and Pocket Casts are. Today we’d like to give you an update on where we are now, and what’s coming in the near future.
Pocket Weather Australia
Earlier this year we realised that we didn’t have the resources to give Pocket Weather the love it so deserved. So we hunted low and high until we finally found the perfect person for the job: Jeff Tan-Ang of OzTV fame. We pitched the idea of a brand new Pocket Weather to Jeff. Re-written from the ground up using Swift 2.0 and using all the latest iOS 9 and Watch OS 2 technologies. Jeff was naturally excited, and joined the Shifty Jelly team back in June of this year. He’s been working on it full time ever since. The new version is looking nothing short of amazing. It will support both iPad and iPhone, as well as the Apple Watch. It’s a free update to all our customers who have the current version of Pocket Weather. We’re really excited to bring this to you and we’ll have more details on it closer to release. In terms of timing expect it later this year, before the temperatures swell and Australians hit the beach.
At the same time that we were planning the next Pocket Weather release, we were of course working on Pocket Casts as well. It too will be iOS 9 and Watch OS 2 compatible and bring with it some amazingly cool features that we hope to talk about very soon. Thanks to the addition of Jeff, Russell has been able to work on this release full time and it’s shaping up to be our biggest one yet. It will be a free update to all our existing customers. We’ve all been using the new version here internally for a while now and we can’t tell you how excited we are to be able to share more details with you soon. Timing wise it will also ship this year, but we’re keeping the date a secret until just before launch.
So a new Pocket Weather and Pocket Casts before the end of the year, both with some amazing new iOS 9 and Watch OS 2 features. The entire team (Jeff, Russell, Chris, Monica and Philip) have been working tirelessly to bring you these two new releases and there’s a definite buzz in the office as we lead up to release day. If you’re one of our iOS customers: we think 2015 is going to be one of the most exciting years we’ve ever been able to give you. More details soon, but in the meantime we have code to write, designs to tweak and tests to test. See you on the other side!
We live life in the fast lane. Not just us, you too Fred, and you, Sally. When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses, or made time to connect with someone? Introducing, Nearby for Pocket Casts Android.
You can now open up the Nearby tab in Discover to find nearby Android Pocket Casts users (get them to do the same), and see what they’re listening to, easily subscribe and share your own subscriptions. It’s never been easier to discover great new podcasts and spread the word.
Of course, we’re all about freedom of choice, so while we share this cool new Android feature with you, we’re also working on a massive update to Pocket Casts on iOS. We’re not quite ready to share it with you, but with the overwhelming support we’ve received in response to our 5.0 update to Android, we know what you want in the next generation of Pocket Casts on iOS, and we’re working hard to bring it to you soon.
In the meantime, head over to Google Play to update Pocket Casts Android (also includes a bunch of fixes) and remember: stay cool.
When we launched the web version of Pocket Casts last year we had no idea how it would be received. It turns out a lot of you loved it. We’re so grateful to see how many of you have paid the once off $9 price and joined us on this amazing journey. Earlier this year we started planning a lot of updates to the service, based on your feedback and some things we’ve wanted to do with it since we launched. Today we’re proud to launch the first of those updates. Here is the change log for version 1.1:
- You’ve always been a star, we know that. But now your episodes can be too! Collect all your favorites in the side bar.
- What else does a star need? A platform! Chromecast to your television for that big screen experience (Chrome only, no one ever got famous by running IE).
- While your stunt double does all the hard work, why not kick back, sort your your episodes in reverse order and find a good story podcast to listen to.
There’s also the feature that the web player now has change logs, which we know a lot of you seem to like reading. Now when a new version comes out with significant changes, you’ll get this appear in the app:
So sit back, open your browser, go to play.pocketcasts.com and enjoy some great podcasts.
We made Pocket Casts v1.0 for iOS back in January of 2011 with one clear goal in mind: we loved podcasts and wanted them on our phones. It turns out a lot of other people wanted exactly the same thing, the app really took off in a big way.
After releasing it we started to get a lot of requests from an entire group of phone users who were left out in the cold: those running Android. At first we ignored them. We felt like we were too busy and neither of us had ever used an Android phone. But they kept wearing us down, and eventually one of them mailed us a phone. So we did the crazy thing (believe us, a lot of people said it would be our downfall) and brought out an Android version. Today it outsells our iOS version in a big way, it’s the most popular product we’ve ever made.
In 2014 we brought desktop users into the fold with our web version. Again people told us we were crazy to not build natively for the desktop first. Again, the app was a resounding success. Our web app, at a once off $9 fee has outsold most other podcasting apps on any other platforms. People love it, they can easily fire it up at their work places, or at home, or any computer they find themselves in front of. And yet again we learnt some valuable lessons: ‘sometimes you need to ignore common wisdom’ and ‘making podcasts available in more places can only be a good thing’.
So as 2015 was looming large, we were once again having déjà vu. A whole new group of users were left out in the cold: those on Windows Phone. Yet again none of us had ever used a Windows phone and we made the same argument “we’re too busy”. It rang hollow though, our team is now 5 people, bigger than the 2 it was in 2011 when we launched our first version. We have more resources and less apps than we used to. And again and again, these people would tweet at us, email us and just generally tell us how much they were missing the Pocket Casts experience on their Windows Phones.
So yet again, we’ve done the crazy thing. The unconventional thing. We gave those people what they wanted and brought podcasts to another platform that needs them: Windows Phone. Today we’re extremely proud to announce that it’s available right now in the store:
Version 1.0 is all about making sure we build an app that is both true to Windows Phone and featured enough for us to love. I myself have been using it as my only podcasting app for the last month, and each time I felt something lacking with it, I added that in. Some of the highlights include:
- Sign into your existing sync account (or create a new one) and watch all your podcast subscriptions, episode filters and play statuses sync over. Of course any new podcasts you add, and where you’re up to also syncs back from Windows Phone to your other Pocket Casts devices!
- Take advantage of variable speed playback and listen to your podcasts at your pace.
- Turn on auto download to always have your podcasts ready to go at a moments notice.
- Create your Up Next list, and enjoy continuous playback of your podcasts in any order you like.
- Discover brand new podcasts in our featured and trending sections. We’re amazed at how many new podcasts get their start in life thanks to being featured on our platform.
- Configure our skip buttons to your liking and skip the boring parts, or jump back to the bits you’ve missed.
Just like all our other app launches, this is version 1.0. Your feedback will help us shape version 1.1, version 2, and so on. Shifty Jelly is committed to supporting and updating what we release into the world, this new platform is no different.
But enough talk, if you have a Windows Phone, come and join the fun.
We’ve been toiling away on this update for many months now, incorporating a ton of feedback from you and we’re finally ready to share the latest and greatest version of Pocket Casts ever. We know you’re keen to jump right in and check it out so here are some brief highlights of the features we think you’ll be most excited about:
We’ve given a lot of thought to Google’s Material Design visual language to produce an app that includes bold graphics and meaningful animations, while maintaining a familiar interface. This is much more than just a skin and we’re sure you’ll agree that both light and dark themes look amazing.
Up Next has been brought to the forefront of the UI for easy access and control of continuous playback. You can now add, remove and jump between episodes, all from the mini player.
Managing episodes has never been easier. Swiping to the left on an episode row will toggle between played and unplayed.
We worked long and hard to answer the question: ‘How can we improve your listening experience, without interfering with what the podcaster intended for you to hear?’ Enter, audio effects. Volume boost works by increasing playback volume without changing your device volume, allowing you to listen over loud background noise without fear of blaring notifications. Silence removal helps you get through more podcasts faster by reducing the length of extended silences, while maintaining the natural pacing and cadence of your favorite hosts.
You can now learn about and share your podcasting habits with the world.
Control the app from your Android Wear device, just like a superhero/ine. Launch Pocket Casts, jump between queued episodes, play, pause and skip, all from your itty bitty wrist.
Of course, no update would be complete without bug fixes and performance enhancements, so we’ve included a bunch of those for good measure.
The last year has been an amazing time for podcasts and before we get too far into the next generation of Pocket Casts, we’d like to take a look back and share a few of our highlights.
In early 2014 we ventured out from our fortress of mobile devices and into the browser with Pocket Casts Web, and we’re glad we did. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming and we have some awesome plans for new features in the future. If you haven’t already, you can try it out for free here.
Pocket Casts 5 for iOS was released in November 2014 to support iOS 8 and Apple’s gargantuan 6 and 6+. Handoff to Pocket Casts Web is still one of our favourite features, cross-platform syncing has never been so seamless.
Serial! It would be remiss of us not to mention what Serial did for podcasting (and by association Pocket Casts) in 2014. Along with the rest of the world, the Shifty Jelly team obsessed over the conclusion to season 1 for weeks on end. We think 2015 is going to be even bigger and better for podcasting, with plenty of new voices and more from your favourite shows.
Finally, Pocket Casts 5 for Android is coming. Very soon. We’re in the final stages of testing and can’t wait to share it with the world. If you’d like to be notified when it’s released, follow us on Twitter.
Onwards and upwards!
While we’re busy beavering away on the Lollipop update of Pocket Casts (which looks amazing by the way), we thought we’d give you a few new things to play with:
- Pocket Casts now has actionable notifications, so you can download or stream episodes right from your phone or Android Wear watch. If an episode is auto-downloaded while you’re away, those buttons will change to play and add to Up Next.
- Variable speed playback has been enhanced so that it now works with more than just MP3 files. On most phones AAC and OGG are also now supported!
- We’ve fixed quite a few Lollipop bugs, like the skip buttons in the player getting stuck on a colour.
- You can now choose exactly which podcasts you’d like to be notified about, instead of it being an all or nothing setting.
- Auto download has been changed by popular request to download any new shows that come out. This is especially handy for people that listen to things like hourly news podcasts, that used to have to download some of these manually if they weren’t around when the shows came out.
So grab it if you haven’t already and enjoy your favourite podcasts just that little bit more. Speaking of which: Adnan totally did it by the way. No way that guy is innocent. Sorry…runs away…
After many months of hard work, we’re proud to introduce you to Pocket Casts, version 5. We’ve packed a lot of features and goodness into every free update we’ve released since version 1, and this one is certainly no exception. It all starts with the refreshed interface that supports the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. We’ve made a lot of small tweaks to screens and some huge changes to others. We’ve also incorporated a lot of your feedback into this version as well, a few of the highlights include:
- Handoff support. For those of you that use our new web player (play.pocketcasts.com) you can now tap one button on your Mac, and it will open the same episode in the web player, auto-loaded to where you’re currently up to. I used it just this morning to finish an episode of Serial. I sat down at my desk at work, opened the app, clicked the little Safari icon in my dock…and BOOM. I continued right on!
- Actionable notifications. You can now add to Up Next and download directly from a notification, without having to open the app.
- The sleep timer now remembers the last time you chose, and auto-selects that when you tap it. it’s also more configurable than ever before.
- You can now mark as played, straight from the Up Next list, when you do, the next item in the list will automatically start playing.
- It’s now far easy to work with your Up Next list, tapping play on an episode somewhere else, now adds it there, and pushes all your other episodes down by one.
- Skipping is easier than ever before, just double tap with two fingers anywhere on the now playing screen.
- Per podcast notification settings, you can now choose to receive notifications for only the podcasts you care the most about.
- Auto download all new episodes, a huge boon for episodes released in multiple parts..
- We fixed a lot of other small bugs. All in all this is the biggest update we’ve done since we completely rebooted Pocket Casts last year with version 4.
Poor desktop web browsers. All people ever talk about these days are mobile phones and apps. They must feel so left out! Well no longer friends, no longer. We’re proud to officially announce that Pocket Casts is now available on the web!
Starting today, we’re letting anyone who owns one of our existing mobile apps, and has registered a Pocket Casts sync account in them, try it out here:
The web app syncs your podcast subscriptions that you already have on your phone, and where you’re up to in each episode. This means you can open your browser, log in, and start listening straight away. It plays both audio and video files so you never have to be without your podcasts again. Whether you need some podcasts to listen to at work, at home, or even at that hipster coffee shop we know you hang out at, we have you covered.
So go crazy, try it out and send your flowers, feedback and felicitations our way.
This is only the beginning. We have a tonne of new features planned. Everything from working more closely with our mobile apps, to allowing new users to sign up directly from the web. Our office whiteboard is littered with so many ideas and plans that sometimes it starts to take on a life of it’s own. The future is white, bright…and covered in white board marker…actually so are my hands.
So go ahead, log in and enjoy some amazing podcasts. We know we will.
We’re a wee bit excited in the office this morning. We’re adding something very cool to the Pocket Casts universe very soon. If you want to join in the excitement, head on over here and sign up:
Between this, the iOS 8 updates that we’re working on, and Android L we’re insanely excited about the future of all our apps on all your platforms.