Sure, Apple’s iPhone turned the smartphone industry upside down, and the trail since 2007 is littered with casualties, including one product that once was Apple’s bread and butter. Rest in peace, iPod. The once proud and prosperous Apple device is now a footnote in Apple’s history, an accessory to remember, a product you can’t buy.
No, iPod touch doesn’t count. It’s just a tiny iPad made for music. A side effect of the iPod’s reign from 2001 is the venerable Podcast, an audio program distribution and listening system which started life on iPods, but now lives everywhere; some are called netcasts, but everyone knows the real name. Podcast . Here’s the app I use to manage Podcasts on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Like RSS For Audio
If you’ve ever used an RSS reader on your Mac then you’ll pick up within minutes on what Downcast does. It manages Podcasts on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and lets you listen on Watch.
Downcast started life on the iPhone and iPad, but also works now on the Mac. It comes with options to search, subscribe, and download audio and video Podcasts. The feature I appreciate among the many is the ability to sync Podcast subscriptions between Mac, iPhone, and iPad using iCloud. It’s always good to have Podcasts to go, but management is a bit easier on the Mac’s larger screen real estate.
Downcast lets you enter a URL to subscribe, does the downloading automatically (even resumes downloading if a connection is interrupted), and even gives you the option to browse and download older Podcast episodes.
If you’re already using a Podcast player and management app, simply export the subscription feed list as an OPML file (most Podcast apps do that), import it into Downcast, and you’re back in business.
As you can tell from the screenshot, Downcast looks and works much like an RSS reader. It features audio and video transport controls, options for each Podcast subscription, including auto login for password protected sites, and auto update for subscriptions on a schedule.
The subscriptions, playlists, settings, and episode information can be synchronized between Macs, or between Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions of Downcast, but it’s all handled through iCloud. I’d really appreciate other options, say, for GoogleDrive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. My iCloud account is getting rather crowded.
Downcast also lets you view Podcast episode show notes and details, and settings for Podcast retention can be set up globally (across all Podcast subscriptions), or individual Podcasts. The only negative I’ve run into is that new versions seem to break older functions until the next update, and getting the Podcast playlist to sync between devices required multiple efforts.
Why has Podcasting prospered even while the iPod withered away in popularity? Say thank you to Apple for the iPhone, which has given Podcasting a new home, and that has given incentive to thousands and thousands of Podcasters to create new, exciting, and useful programs in audio and video.