Apple released a standalone podcast app last week.Previously, podcasts were in the “music” app on the iPhone. Giving them their own app, which allows for automatic downloading of podcasts, makes sense.
Unfortunately, Apple’s podcast app is one of the the worst applications I’ve ever downloaded on my iPhone. From the design to the performance, this is one horrific experience.
I hate to be one of those guys that says Steve Jobs would have never let this happen, but, seriously, if Steve Jobs was alive this could never happen.
What’s so bad about the app? Let’s start with performance.
When I open Podcasts, it takes a long time to load. (So we’re on the same page, I’m using an iPhone 4, and I have approximately 18 unplayed podcast episodes. I have 4 GB of empty space on the phone, so it shouldn’t be too sluggish.)
When the app finally does load, it is totally unresponsive. I press on “unplayed episodes,” and nothing happens. I press it again, and again, and again, and again. I press it 10 times and get no response. I try to scroll and the app is stuck.
Then, voila, suddenly the app starts working, but it’s registering everyone one of those taps and now it’s going crazy. Just to get back to home screen I have to press a bunch of buttons.
Sitting at my desk, this is pretty annoying. Trying to do it while driving? Positively deadly.
As for the design, it looks like an Android app, only worse. It’s filled with dark colours, and the play and pause buttons look like junk compared to Apple’s music app. If I want to fast forward to an exact spot in a podcast it’s pretty much impossible.
Underneath the app is another one of Apple’s “skueomorphic” graphics. It has a fake tape machine rolling, which you can see when you tap the screen. (You can see it in the screengrab above.) Why? It’s just stupid. Apple, you helped kill tape machines, stop trying to pretend they’re cool. It’s just ugly.
I’m going to keep using Instacast, which costs $0.99, but is a much better podcast experience.
Hopefully Apple fixes all the bugs in the podcast app, because it’s reportedly removing podcasts from iOS iTunes, forcing people to use this app isntead. If this is what people have to deal with, it’s going to be a disaster.
Spinning it out further, I really hope this is an isolated, one-off goof from Apple. If this is the future of its software and its apps, the company is in a lot of trouble. This podcast app is horrendous.