Podcasts for iOS Updated With Siri Integration, CarPlay Support and Improved Browsing

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podcastsApple today updated its Podcasts app for iOS to version 2.1, adding several improvements to the app, which currently has just a two star rating in the App Store. The update includes a new "Unplayed" tab displaying episodes that haven't been listened to, and episodes that are available to stream or download can be accessed from the "Feed" tab.

It's now possible to save favorite episodes to listen to offline and users can also automatically delete episodes after they've been played. Siri integration has been included and Siri is able to play podcast episodes with a "play podcasts" command. Users can also ask Siri to play specific podcasts or stations.

Along with these enhancements, the Podcasts app now supports CarPlay and link sharing via AirDrop. Apple has also released iTunes 11.2 with several desktop podcast improvements.

This update includes several improvements that make playing your favorite podcasts even easier:

Improved Episode Browsing
- Quickly find episodes you haven't listened to in the new Unplayed tab
- Browse episodes that are available to download or stream in the Feed tab
- Save your favorite episodes to keep them offline
- Episodes can now be automatically deleted after you play them
- Tap on links that appear in podcast and episode descriptions to open them in Safari

Ask Siri
- You can now ask Siri to play podcast episodes by simply saying "play podcasts"
- To play specific podcasts or stations, just ask Siri to play them by name, like "play TEDTalks"
- Please note that Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas.

Additional Improvements
- Podcasts now supports CarPlay
- Start playing a station right from the stations list -- just tap the Play button next to the station name
- Share links to your favorite podcasts using AirDrop

This update also resolves playback issues after syncing with iTunes and improves stability while downloading podcasts.

Podcasts can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

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81 months ago
I think the bigger news here is that Apple added functionality to Siri by updating an app. Previously when they wanted to add features to Siri, they updated the OS. The fact that they only needed to update the app implies that there is a Siri API that the podcasts app is taking advantage of.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
81 months ago

Unbelievable! … how profoundly Apple has destroyed the podcast experience over the past year… And every time they do anything, it seems only to make things worse.


Couldn't agree more. And yet, after weeks of research, I chose none of the alternatives. As bad as Podcasts & iTunes gets, the combo is still better than the competitors.

And that's the bad news. No real competition, means the downhill slide continues.

I have little to no use for downloading directly with the Podcasts app. I let iTunes manage my podcasts & keep my library. Sadly, Apple's Podcasts works worse with iTunes with every release. Playlists are the single powerful feature of iTunes and Podcasts looses it's grip on Playlists with every release. I used to be able to sync a Playlist, by that I mean, what was in the list got transferred to the device, even if the Playlists in Stations were incorrect and useless once they arrived, the content actually arrived.

Now it doesn't even sync the contents of the Playlist correctly & I've had to do needless and unnecessary syncing, just to get Playlist contents across.

This is maddening. And no developer would risk a player that let iTunes do the downloading, and only sync to Podcasts on the device—as it seems iTunes might drop Podcasts any minute. Wish Apple had a simple player that doesn't try to download or manage Podcasts.

And what's with Playlists? I have podcasts "synced" with my iPhone called Not Found. I suspect it means 'not in the cloud, so you don't get it, even if it's in your iTunes library'. That sinking feeling continues.

If only somebody could tell us how Podcasts are supposed to work, and where Apple is going with this. That would be a big start!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago
I hope this properly syncs across all my devices now.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
81 months ago
This app doesn't work for me. I use it regularly and it just crashes every time I open it up now. It's a definite downgrade. I expect this from windows and android not apple.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
81 months ago
I updated it. I opened it. It crashes. Rinse and repeat.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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81 months ago
Actually.

They can use "unauthorized APIs" because they're apple. But hopefully, there'll be an API with iOS 8 that makes Siri more useful!


Yes. This is in part to do with Apple using private APIs, but what is more interesting is what's happened on the server side of Siri. I tried asking Siri to play a podcast, before updating, and she said: "I'm sorry, I can't do that, you haven't installed the latest podcasts app", with a link to the App Store. This suggests that simply implementing the API isn't actually enough, even if it were open for everyone. This would be a smart way of doing it, so that if an app managed to sneak in with a Siri API in it, it wouldn't be useful anyhow.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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