Introducing – Pocket Casts
We here at Shifty Jelly love podcasts. They’ve literally changed the way we commute to work. Ever since episode 1 of shows like This Week In Tech, Macbreak Weekly & Buzz Out Loud (and more recently Tech News Today) we’ve been hooked. We’ve had our listener comments read on the show, seen podcasts start up and disappear and more recently debated furiously over whether Molly Wood or Tom Merritt make for a better host. In my case I started listening on a green iPod mini, followed by a black iPod (the predecessor to todays classic), then the iPhone 2G, 3G, 3GS and now iPhone 4. The way I got them on there hasn’t really changed that much. I would subscribe through iTunes, then sync them to my device. Sometimes (because iTunes takes the Internet equivalent of forever to show new episodes) I would download the episode manually, copy it over and add it to a playlist called ‘podcasts’. More recently I experimented with the iPod & iTunes apps on the iPhone to try and download podcasts over the air, but it’s always been a bit clunky. I couldn’t download episodes bigger than 10MB (or more recently 20MB), I’d have to hunt for episodes myself, and so many other frustrations.
So today we present you with the fruit of those frustrations, Pocket Casts (iTunes Link). We’ve been using this app for the last 4 weeks or so to listen to our podcasts, making tweaks and adding features over that time, and we think it’s time you joined us. Here’s some of the things we’ve been enjoying:
- Instant refresh: we keep track of when new episodes are available, on our server, so your iPhone doesn’t have to.
- Push Notifications: add all your favourite podcasts, then watch new episodes appear as they become available.
- Download without limits: choose to download or stream new episodes, with no file size restrictions. (note that Apple bounced our first version with streaming over 3G, so in v1.0 you can only stream over WIFI. We plan to correct this though in the next release, you can still download over 3G with no limits)
- Background downloading: start a download, then go and check your email, or play your favourite game while it finishes in the background (on devices that support multitasking, limited to 10 minutes from when you close the app).
- Quick skip: one tap of the screen and you can jump forward or back through your podcasts.
- New should be new: in most cases our app will pick up new episodes long before iTunes does, no more going to the authors website.
- Video & Audio: because sometimes, as scary as he may be, Leo’s shows make more sense as video.
- 3 Themes: people are different, and so are Red, Blue and Orange.
- Titlefication: podcast authors love long podcast titles, you know, the ones you can never read. Our system is smart enough to strip out the bits you don’t need, so that when a new podcast appears, you actually know what it’s about! We can also adjust it on the fly, so let us know if we missed any.
- Background Playing: when you close the app, the podcasts keep playing, you can also control them via the multitasking bar. Obvious we know, but we figure people would ask if we didn’t list it.
Are you really still reading this? Go and grab it: (iTunes Link)
Edit: Our app was rejected by Apple initially, for allowing you to stream podcasts over 3G. For now we’ve disabled 3G streaming of podcasts, but we plan to try to add it back in the next release in a way that makes Apple happy 🙂