Apple ruffled some feathers earlier this week when it was discovered third-party apps were being left out of iTunes search results for "podcast" and "podcasts." Today those applications have thankfully returned, though the company still isn't talking about what caused them to be excluded in the first place. The unfortunate "bug" affected only the PC/Mac version of Apple's iTunes software; results for podcast queries in the iOS App Store have always included third-party options.

The resurfacing of alternatives to Apple's own Podcasts app — which has seen mixed reviews since it was released last month — is good news for developers and users alike. If the design of Cupertino's offering (complete with faux tape recorder styling) hasn't been to your liking, you should no longer have any trouble finding popular replacements like Downcast and Instacast.

We've again reached out to Apple for clarification on what was behind the short-lived controversy.