Podcasts educate and entertain, making our time at the gym, morning commute, jogging, and waiting in line more productive.
But trying to search for, subscribe to, and manage podcasts directly from your iPhone or iPad is not the smoothest of tasks, even with Apple’s new, standalone podcast manager. Downcast podcast manager, or podcatcher, as they’re referred to, is an elegant alternative. One of the best, really.
Downcast allows you to download and listen to your favorite podcasts directly from your iOS device without the need to sync with the dreaded iTunes. Anytime I can bypass tethering or synching with iTunes, I run in that direction.
You can also create playlists, share your choices to Facebook and Twitter, and a host of other functions, using the app’s beautifully simple navigation.
Here are some of the many highlights:
+ Search, subscribe to and download audio and video podcasts of any size
+ Manually subscribe to podcasts via URL
+ Download podcasts automatically (including resuming downloads)
+ Continue podcast downloads in background (per iOS restrictions)
+ Browse and download older podcast episodes
+ Auto-update podcast feeds based on schedule or location
+ Settings for auto-download and episode retention (globally and per-podcast)
+ Support for password-protected feeds
+ Create and edit “smart” playlists
+ Rename podcasts with long or unwieldy names
+ Video and audio AirPlay support
+ Play audio in the background (for supported devices)
+ .5x, 1x, 1.5x, 2x and 3x speed playback
+ Chapters support for enhanced podcasts
+ Stream episodes without downloading
+ View embedded images in podcast episodes
+ Gesture support
+ Sleep timer
Downcast iPhone and iPad app is available in the App Store for $1.99.