I never knew I needed so many functions simply to manage and listen to the few dozens Podcasts on my growing list of audio programs. If you liked Instacast on the iPhone or iPad, you’ll like Instacast on the Mac.
Podcasting: Simple? Or, Complex?
At a very basic level, listening to Podcasts is simple, straightforward, and– if you’re married to iTunes– free for one and all.
iTunes handles subscriptions rather well and makes it easy to find interesting Podcasts among the many tens of thousands of Podcasts available online.
iTunes is free and decent but there’s a better way and it’s called Instacast— an iOS and OS X Podcast management app with a dozen reasons to switch from iTunes.
Instacast is a premium app (more expensive on Mac than iPhone or iPad) so you’d expect a longer list of capabilities than Podcasts in iTunes.
That’s what you get.
One of the most attractive features is the Sync function which keeps Podcasts in sync across multiple devices– multiple Macs, or iPhone and iPad.
The user interface is highly reminiscent of the average RSS reader for the Mac. Except it’s a list of Podcasts.
Podcast subscriptions can be imported into Instacast from other apps using the standard OMPL file. Instacast is sufficiently robust that it can handle hundreds and hundreds of Podcast subscriptions (and keep them synchronized with Instacast on iOS).
Add keywords to each Podcast and Instacast makes it easy to search for and find specific episodes.
Instacast also handles Podcast playlists, and you can download Podcasts and preload and distribute to your iPhone or iPad. Transport controls are on top of the app in the Toolbar which isn’t cluttered with non-descript icons and options.
Podcast collections can be sorted a variety of ways and Preferences are extensive. What I really like with Instacast on my Mac is the player’s ability to minimize and take up less screen real estate (or, optionally, and good for video podcasts, go to fullscreen mode). It even displays which Podcast is coming up next in the playlist.
Instacast uses its own custom built cloud synchronization service and that’s the only area where I’ve run into a problem. In my experience getting a solid sync between OS X and iOS devices has been problematic. Still, when it works it works, and having Podcasts available on both iPhone (and iPad) and the Mac is highly beneficial. I just can’t figure out why the Mac app costs four times the iOS version.