It doesn’t feel like that long ago but in mid September we published this in a blog post:
Timing wise it will also ship this year, but we’re keeping the date a secret until just before launch.
Since then a lot of you have been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting for this release, and we know the clock is ticking. So today we have some news for you all!
As you’ve guessed, we haven’t been able to finish the app in time to make the end of year cut-off. Delays to our other app that we shipped last week, Pocket Weather, spilled over into delays for Pocket Casts. This is, alas, how software development often goes.
That said we don’t intend to leave you empty handed. You’ve all waited too long, and hassled us (in the nicest possible ways) too much. So we’re going to let 100 lucky people into our TestFlight beta that we’re prepping. The beta will be available next week. You can register here http://play.pocketcasts.com/ios/beta. We’ll notify you if you get accepted and you get to be part of shaping the future of our iOS app. No pressure.
It doesn’t seem that long ago, but back in 2008 we shipped version 1.0 of Pocket Weather. It was a different time for Shifty Jelly, just two guys working from their respective couches at night on a fun app. Fast forward to 2015 and the anticipation has been building. The iPhone 6 Plus is out with its giant new screen. Apple Watch is out, a brand new way to get data on the go. The iPad now supports split-screen so you can work better than ever before. You, our beloved customers have been asking us for a while now if we intend to support all these new shiny devices you’ve been buying. Well we have a very clear answer for you today: HECK YEAH! Introducing Pocket Weather 5.
The first and most important point: this is a free update to all existing customers. We know you’ve been patiently waiting for it and we don’t intend to add insult to injury by asking you to pay again.
This app has been completely rebuilt from the ground up using the latest technologies from Apple. That’s not the quickest way to do things, but we believe it makes for the best app experience. If you want to build an app that stands the test of time you need to move with the times. That’s why Pocket Weather Australia 5 is iOS 9 only, and written almost entirely in Apple’s new language, Swift.
Simpler Than Ever
We’ve refined every part of the interface to try and surface all the information you need in ways that the previous version just can’t match. Our core focus was showing you today’s details and the week ahead when you open the app, without you having to perform a single tap.
Of course all the detail you’ve come to expect from Pocket Weather is still there. Swipe up or down to see various bits of information and tap into any card you want to see more detail on. We’ve worked hard on our visualisations as well, meaning getting a glimpse of what the weather is going to be like for that all important weekend is easier to see than ever.
We’ve even sweated the small details. In the previous version you had to pull up your location list to see other weather locations, now they are all just a swipe away.
Watch This Space
The second we put Apple watches on our wrists, we realised we wanted weather on there. You want to wake up in the morning and decide what to wear. Glance at it during the day before heading out to lunch and take a quick peek as you’re having dinner to figure out how cold it’s going to be overnight. Thanks to Watch OS 2 you can now do all that. We have a complication which shows you todays temperature up until 5pm, when it will switch to telling you the overnight low and tomorrow’s high. One tap of the complication takes you into the Pocket Weather app on your watch. Here you can see today’s details as well as glance at a graph that shows you what it’s going to be like for the rest of the week. We’ve found that having all this on your wrist at a moment’s notice is incredibly handy.
iPad Split Screen
With iOS 9 and Split Screen support you’ve come to expect that you can do more things with your iPad. Now that Pocket Weather works in with that, you can open the weather for a holiday you’re going to on one side, and open your mail client on the other. Relax flustered family, it’s going to be sunny and warm where we are going.
We’re Not Done Yet
In the past we’ve tended to favour huge, big-bang releases for Pocket Weather. While it’s exciting to get new things all at once, we’ve heard your feedback that it can sometimes be frustrating to wait many months to get even the smallest of changes. So from now on we’re going to be putting out quicker and smaller releases so we can make changes based on your feedback quicker than ever before. Version 5.1 is already in development and we look forward to hearing from you on ways we can make the app even better.
So whether you’re an existing customer, or someone who’s curious about what all the hype is about, now is the time to go grab the app.
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 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 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.