In which I discuss Apple’s announcements of a Podcast-capable iTunes and new and improved iPods.
Today, Apple ***announced|http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/28podcast.html*** the newest version of ***iTunes|http://www.apple.com/itunes/***, with support for Podcasts. I ***recently blogged about Podcasts|http://prwdot.org/archives/002560.html***, and I had mentioned that iTunes 4.9 was coming soon. Well, now it’s here. Apple has created its own directory of Podcasts, and integrated it into the iTunes Music Store. ***Will|http://pulchersentio.prwdot.org/*** says that they based it on the ***iPodder Directory|http://www.ipodder.org/directory/4/podcasts***. You can browse, search, and add podcasts just like you would with regular iTunes music tracks. The only difference is that you hit ‘subscribe’ to subscribe to an entire Podcast, or ‘get episode’ to get just a single episode. The Podcasts are all downloaded into iTunes, and stored in a special new ‘Podcasts’ section of your iTunes application. There are new controls in iTunes to allow you to choose when and how to sync your Podcasts. Happily, all of the Podcasts that I listen to are available in the iTunes Podcast directory, so I have converted over to using iTunes to manage my Podcasts. I’ve also searched and browsed their directory and discovered some really nifty new podcasts!
Speaking of which, here are the Podcasts I am currently subscribed to, in case you’re looking for some starters (links will take you directly to the Podcast in the iTunes Music Store – they are all free):
***Apple News Log|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330834***
***KCRW’s “The Treatment”|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330616*** (interviews with people from the movie industry)
***KnitCast|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330609*** (for Becky)
***Disney’s Last Minute Book Reports|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73581393***
***The Laporte Report|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73331138***
***BBC News’s “The World – Technology”|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330152***
***TheForce.net|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330349*** (Star Wars news)
***ThePodcastNetwork’s “The Gadget Show”|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73331069***
***This Week In Science|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330501***
***This Week In Tech|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73329404***
***Wizard News Radio|http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=73330924*** (Harry Potter news)
Apple provides Podcast creators a way to publish their Podcasts, so if your favorite Podcast isn’t listed in the directory, encourage the creator to go to iTunes and submit it for publication.
As far as how iTunes Podcast implementation compares to other Mac applications, it’s not quite as powerful overall. It’s a very good experience, to be sure – it’s fully integrated with iTunes, and people familiar with the iTunes Music Store will be comfortable with finding and syncing their Podcasts. However, it doesn’t offer the ability to subscribe to Podcasts that aren’t in the directory, and it doesn’t offer any type of feed-by-feed control of settings in terms of the frequency of updates, or what to download for each feed. But it appeals to me because it’s free (***NetNewsWire|http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/*** does not offer Podcasting support in its free version, and ***iPodderX|http://www.ipodderx.com/*** only offers a crippled ‘Lite’ version for free), and it’s tightly integrated with iTunes and the iPod. I can’t blame Mac software developers for charging folks for software, because there are a LOT of Mac users out there with plenty of discretionary income, and dropping $15+ on a piece of specialized software is no problem. But it’s a problem for me, so I try to go for the free stuff whenever I can. If it comes down to an app that works pretty well and is free, and an app that is amazingly awesome and costs money, I go for the free one.
iPodlounge has a good ***guide to iTunes 4.9|http://www.ipodlounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/the-complete-guide-to-itunes-49-with-podcasts/***.
Along with the iTunes announcement, Apple ***announced a new iPod lineup|http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/28ipod.html***. Apple has merged the iPod and iPod photo lines into a single, color, photo-capable iPod line. You can now get a 20 GB iPod, with color screen and photo capability, for $299. Contrast this to the iPod I bought ***less than a year ago|http://prwdot.org/archives/001946.html***, which also has 20 GB of storage, but did not have a color screen and did not support photos. Such is life when buying technology. There will always be something better just around the corner.
iPodlounge has an ***editorial|http://ipodlounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/editorial-todays-ipod-lineup-and-you/*** that fully explains the new iPod lineup.
Finally, Apple has released an update for ***iPod software|http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/ipodupdater20050626.html***. This will enable your existing iPod to support the new Podcasting features in iTunes, and also supposedly adds a Podcast bookmark feature, though I haven’t figured out how to use it yet. Hey, new features without having to spend any money. I’m down with that.