The Downcast podcast catcher does what the iPhone (and iPad) should do already
ICloud SchmiCloud. Apple’s new non-syncing sync service might already let us iOS users get new apps and books and — in the future music — pushed to our devices, but it still doesn’t push podcasts. As these are likely the most often updated things on our iPhones and iPads, it’s an annoying oversight.
There are several iOS apps that will grab podcasts directly to your device, but Downcast is the first I have found that has a great interface, and works on both the iPad and the iPhone.
To use the app, you first have to tell it which podcasts to watch out for. This can be done from a built-in directory, or by importing an OPML file. If you already use iTunes for podcasts, you can export this file (right click “Podcasts” in the left-hand source list, choose export and pick “OPML” as the format), put it in your Dropbox public folder and then point Downcast to that file.
In use, Downcast has almost every feature from my previous favorite, Podcaster, but without the annoyances. First, the interface is way, way cleaner and easier to use. Second, it doesn’t refuse to download episodes of the excellent VFX Show. And third, it doesn’t have tiny play/pause buttons that cause you to skip a track instead of just pausing it.
What it does have is automatic downloading (suck it, Instacast), the ability to not have the next episode auto play, a sleep timer, AirPlay support for both video and audio and — here’s the big one — gestures.
Gestures let you control playback without having to hunt down a tiny on-screen button. To play/pause, you double-tap with one finger. Swipe left or right with two fingers to skip 30 seconds back and forward, and swipe up and down to mark a podcast as listened or unlistened.
I’d ask for just one thing: the ability to sync my playback position between devices. At home I use my iPad more, but when I go out I grab my iPod Touch. Not having to find my place would be great, although I understand syncing is a tricky and expensive thing to set up.
But the best part is the price. Downcast is just $2.
Downcast product page [Downcast App]
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Via: Gadget Lab