If you are a fan of swipe gestures, trendy design, and are looking for a fully-featured podcast app, Pocket Casts will be right up your alley. While there exist many podcast apps in the App Store, including Apple’s own offering, the team at Shifty Jelly have produced something above the pack. One of the reasons we say this is Pocket Casts’ deep iOS 7 inspired design. So integrated are the blurring and swiping effects, you might mistake Pocket Casts for the app Apple should have released. Let’s take a look.
To begin, fire up Pocket Cast and you’ll be asked to sync using a Shifty Jelly account, not iCloud. Here the company is probably avoiding any outages or glitches that come with Apple’s built in sync tech. But creating an account will enable syncing subscriptions, playlists, and episodes positions. So go for it!
By next hitting the plus button in the upper right corner of the screen you’ll be presented with a grid of featured podcasts, a curated list of recommended listening. you can also search for other podcasts and enter a feed URL that you’ve copied from Safari or another source. Each subscription can be told to follow global downloading rules or customized with its own.
Once you have a bunch of shows in your “Podcasts” tab, you’ll see them sorted in newest episode order. Shows can alternatively be sorted alphabetically or in any custom way you please. Tapping on any podcast will show you a list of episodes. Tapping on one of them will bring up a new layer with more info and the ability to play, favorite, download, or share it. This cool layer can be swiped away at will.
We preferred creating a playlist through the “Add Episode Filter” button. Here you can set parameters such as “unplayed” episodes and/or “downloaded” episodes. You can also choose a Filter name, color, and icon to show on the main menu. Now you can go ahead and play your episodes. Here is where things get really cool.
The episode opens with the podcast art front and center. The scrolling episode title is below, followed by a time indicator, playback controls ,and a set of options at the very bottom. These options let you set the play speed, volume, sleep timer, and share the episode (either with friends or in other apps). The share “current position” feature is huge if you want your friends to hear a specific portion of a show. We love that. Tapping on the show art left and right sides triggers definable skip durations. Swiping to the right on the art switches to show notes. Swiping to the left presents upcoming episodes for that show.
Perhaps the most handy feature of Pocket Casts is that it always displays the currently playing episode at at the bottom of the screen. So when you open the app, and you’re at the main menu, you don’t need to go find which episode is playing, or even hit a Now Playing button. It episode is right there at the bottom waiting for you to hit the play button.
We love Pocket Casts and truly believe its gorgeous design and deep iOS 7 integration make it a stand-out among the mounting competition.
Don’t forget to check out our list of recommended podcasts too.