Finally, the long-awaited update to one of my favorite applications available in the App Store becomes available to millions of iOS device owners everywhere with the public release of iOS 7. Pocket Casts 4 by Shifty Jelly will be a free update to existing Pocket Casts users and will be a welcome addition to the home screen of anyone looking for a beautiful and intuitive podcasting management solution.
Let's get into it.
Now the first thing you are going to want to do upon opening the app, is set up an account. Doing this opens up the syncing capabilities and this will allow you to keep your podcast library, settings and playback markers in sync across multiple iOS device as well as across both iOS and Android platforms.
Next, you want to add podcasts to your library. Simply search for some of your own favorites or take a look at the feature page for some ideas to get started. You can also browse by categories and networks.
Once you have selected a few podcasts to build your library, take notice of the nice grid of podcast artwork representing your selections.
Selecting the podcast will list available episodes to download, stream or play. The decision to go with dynamically unique and minimal playing state icons also show that the developers pulled no punches when it came to the details.
Touching the settings gear icon will allow you access to specific podcast options.
Selecting an episode gives you access to key actions such as delete, playlist options, favorite, toggle played/unplayed status and sharing features.
Pocket Casts 4 brings some awesome functionality to the application, some of which is made possible using new specific iOS 7 APIs. One of these iOS specific features is automatic downloading. Now downloading all your favorite podcasts is as easy as flipping a toggle. Among other settings is the ability to begin playback after a preselected amount of time. This gives you the ability to skip past lengthy intros and advertisements and get right to the meat of the podcast. Customizable skip and rewind buttons gives you those same abilities from anywhere within the podcast.
Another nice feature is the ability to create playlists or as Pocket Casts refers to them "episode filters". Creating an episode filter allows you to have tailored playlists based off a set of rules. Pocket Casts starts you off with a few of these already set up. Inside the playlist view, you will have options to download all, stream all and play all. You can or modify or delete these if you prefer. As you set up rules, you can also make these filters unique by assigning one of several icon and color choices.
Speaking of color, Pocket Casts has really raised the bar in terms of design. While many developers may consider their app to be iOS 7 optimized by simply creating more white space throughout the app, I find that the use of transparency and color matching to be far more appealing visually. The look of the application changes depending on the color schemes associated with the artwork of the currently playing podcast. Above all other feature additions and aesthetic changes, this is by far my favorite of them.
A simple slide gesture to the left reveals your current playlist and corresponding episode length. A simple slide gesture to the right reveals show notes for the currently playing podcast.
The UI is easy to grasp, and after realizing that you are just a slide or tap away in terms of navigating your way around the app, you will feel right at home in no time. Just like Apple in regard to iOS , Pocket Casts has made some radical changes. They bet big on iOS 7 and after you see Pocket Casts 4 for yourself, you will be thankful they did.