Podcasts seem like one of those small (dare I say disruptive?) ideas clearly aimed at the gut of the big media distribution companies, but their influence so far has been pretty slight.
But today the podcast might be approaching its big moment – Apple has released a podcast app for iOS. The app is slick, but it seems to be missing features that podcast fans rely on (such as playlists) and the UI is a bit janky (at least on an iPhone 4) so it probably won’t devastate any great iOS apps. But it’s more attention for a medium that has yet to take off. The podcasts tab wasn’t hurting anyone in the Music app so breaking it out must be Apple attempting to generate a little more attention to audio and video programs distributed as podcasts (and maybe preparing for a ramped up Apple TV).
Podcasts have a techy, and now somewhat dated sounding name, but they are just a delivery mechanism for any serialized audio or video content offered for free. Newsstand doesn’t seem like it has set the world on fire which should temper expectations, but hopefully this move will encourage a few more people to listen to and watch some of the little affectionately crafted gems that dot the Internet.
I almost think it’s too bad Apple didn’t try and rename podcasts into something more friendly and straightforward like “episodes.”
By the way, if you’re looking for a new podcast and you dig political philosophy riddled with pop culture and current events check out The Hero Report hosted by my good friend Ari Kohen of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Matt Langdon of the Hero Construction Company. I highly recommend Episode 12 in which they interview infamous psychologist Phil Zimbardo.