Apple's iTunes desktop client is currently excluding third-party applications when users search the App Store for "podcasts," returning only the company's official Podcasts app as the sole result. First noticed by developer Shahruz Shaukaut (and echoed by Marco Arment), the behavior persists even when you select "See All" — popular third-party alternatives like Instacast and Downcast are nowhere to be found. For now, adding "apps" to your search query is one way to get around the issue.
The behavior is doubly strange since the iOS App Store is seemingly unaffected by the change, bringing back the abundance of results users have come to expect. We've reached out to Apple to clarify what's going on and whether this could merely be a temporary glitch affecting the iTunes desktop software.
Even if that should prove to be the case, this situation perfectly illustrates the importance of a level playing field for developers that depend on the iOS platform to make a living — at least when it comes to search. With one fell swoop, one which very well may have been been unintentional, the development community has been thrown into disarray. Apple clearly has the power to dramatically change the landscape of its digital storefront at a moment's notice, though we're not at all convinced that's the story here. We'll be updating this article once we hear back on the matter.