I’m a big fan of podcasts: This American Life, Radiolab, several shows from TWiT. It’s great to listen to my favorite shows in the car or while exercising. However, I hate syncing to get new shows. When I am running to get out the door, I either leave without fresh episodes or I end out dancing in front of the computer shouting, “faster!”
I have tried using the built in option to get new podcasts from iTunes on the phone, but it is a number of extra clicks, and it isn’t automatic. Since seeing a recommendation for Pocket Casts, I decided to give it a try. While the interface is a bit busy, it completely untethers your iPhone from your computer.
- On install, Pocket Casts scans your podcast directory and sets up the podcasts already on your iPhone. Note: Pocket Casts does not actually import episodes; you still need to download those. However, you do not have set up your shows. They automagically appear in Pocket Casts.
- When a new podcast is available, you are notified via a subscript number over the podcast icon on the main page. You can also see all available episodes from all your subscriptions from the “sync” icon in bottom row. Plus, Pocket Casts lets you download podcasts over the air — even podcasts larger that 20 mb. Also, a recent update, allows resuming downloads which did not complete.
- The other must-have feature is the ability to skip forward in a program. Sure, iTunes let you skip back 30 seconds, but there is no option to skip ahead. Pocket Casts gives you both! And don’t worry about having to hit a tiny icon, touch either the left or right side of the screen to skip forward or back. Also, If you don’t like how far Pocket Casts advances or rewinds, set forward and back jumps down to the second. Personally, I have set fast forward to 30 seconds (hello, commercial skip) and rewind to 15 seconds.
- For those who like to speed up their listening, Pocket Casts lets you listen at 1x, 1.2x, 1.5x and 2x. Sorry, no 1/2 speed as of version 2.1.1.
- Pocket Casts also supports playlists, letting you play episodes in any order and even episodes from different shows. Take that iTunes!
- Of course, you still have show notes and a podcast directory. The directory may not be as pretty as iTunes, but it is functional and easy to use.
I have been using Pocket Casts for two weeks and it has become my podcast app of choice. I love being able to subscribe to shows on my iPhone and download new episodes whether on wifi or 3G. Combined with the ability to skip forward, Pocket Casts has found a place in my heart and on my home row.