Apple released a new App for listening to Podcasts and managing subscriptions on the iPhone or iOS. It seems they figured iTunes (or Music, as it is called on the iOS machines) is a bit overloaded, so they started splitting it into several apps.
I must say I am not really impressed.
First of all, the application is really damn slow. At least on my old 3GS it takes literally seconds to see any reaction to a click/tap. I am subscribed to roughly a dozen podcasts, and I currently have 98 episodes that wait for listening. I’d say that is light useage, not hardcore podcast hunting.
When I play an episode, I often want to know how long the rest of the episode takes. Should I get off the car and go to work or just wait the remaing 5 minutes? The app doesn’t show this information, while teh Music App does. I miss that. [Update:]I found out a day later or two that it does in fact show a timeline, but you must move the Podcast label towards the top of the screen. Once I found that, I still must say it is too small to read and a bit hidden.[/Update]
I find the flipping between your media library and the catalog okay, but strange. The surfing for podcasts in the style of tuning an ancient radio (In German this is called “Topsender”, I guess it is calle “stations” in the english version) feels strange to me, and when I am not connected to a WiFi network it is really laggy, due to the loading times of all the icons.
All in all, while many bloggers out there get carried away by the nice visual design of the application and the reminiscents to an old Braun Tape machine, I must say in this particular case it seems Apple put design over usability. At least for my taste. I find myself using the Music App more for listening to Podcast episodes.
[Update]I’ve given up on using the Podcasts app and listen to my podcast episodes using the good old Music App. Podcasts is much too slow. Sometimes You wait for 8 or 10 seconds before it reacts to any user interaction. Sometimes I’m not sure if I hit the buttons right, so I press again. Guess what happens once the App wakes up again… it handles all my input, so it starts playing, pauses again and so on… So for me, Podcasts is a big disappointment. And it sure is not a reason to buy a newer iPhone ;-)[/Update]