Let's Talk About The Podcasts App.
Often when it comes to Apple people feign outrage or complain about Apple simply because it's Apple. That said I'm pretty astounded there isn't a resounding outrage surrounding Apple's Podcasts app (probably because the people who are the most boisterous about Apple don't actually own any Apple products, thus they haven't used Podcasts). First things first: do not download this application. Seriously, I'm not even going to link to it because if you download it you will not be able to access podcasts on your device in the Music app again, even after deleting the app.
When the Podcasts app debuted I was really excited. I pretty much use the Music app exclusively to listen to podcasts, so an app exclusively used for playback and managing podcasts seemed great. Adding to my excitement was the fact that the only reason I sync my phone at all anymore is for managing podcasts, so this would free me from my daily sync routine. Well that was the theory at least. My initial experience was frustrating to say the least. Downloads didn't work, episodes weren't marked as played, playback would randomly quit, and the overall experience was one that was decidely un-Apple like. No big deal, it was the first release so I deleted it and figured I'd try it later.
Well today I was forced to try it later. In the past if you wanted to download podcasts on your device all you needed to do was scroll down and click "Get More Episodes", then you'd be taken to the show page in the iTunes app. Well some sage soul in Cupertino decided that this was too simple, so now when you do that procedure you are informed "you can download new podcasts in the Podcasts app". That was a minor annoyance, but it's been through two updates so the Podcasts app has to be stable now right? Wrong. Frustratingly wrong. My experience this morning was met with duplicate files, new episodes somehow being marked as partially listened to, and all of my previously listened to episodes being marked as new. Again, no big deal I figured I'll just delete the app...
Now here is where the episode went from bad app to bad system...once I deleted the app there was no way to listen to podcasts on my device. No more reverting to the Music app, it was podcasts or nothing. Now every company is entitled to make a bad application, but when you force customers to use that bad application that becomes a problem. From on-device downloads going away unless they are through Podcasts to Apple pushing all App Store queries for podcasts to its own app its clear that Apple intends to make all podcast listeners to Podcasts. And this makes sense in theory, podcasts have turned into a booming business and big names are making a living simply from podcasting. Theoretically the separate app would lead to better management for listeners as well as greater discovery opportunity by giving podcasts their own section. However its unfortunate that the execution of the app has been so poor thus far. I really hope Apple improves the Podcast app experience, but for right now I cannot recommend anyone give this application a download.