iPhone app review: Audiopress, a must-have for podcast junkies

In line with the Nosillacast review requirements, here is the problem I needed solved. (a) I listen to a crapton of podcasts. (b) I don't like attaching my iPhone to my computer, and podcasts are the only real reason for me to do it. I rarely buy new music, and I don't need to sync my photos constantly. Apps update over the air. You see the issue. Audiopress [iTunes link; free] is the perfect solution for those out there like me, and I know you exist. The app does much more (it streams radio, news, and other audio content), but I don't use those features. I was looking for a one-trick pony that worked for what I needed.

With this app, you pick the podcasts to subscribe to, with playlists and everything, and new episodes appear. You can even import your iTunes podcasts through the Audiopress Web site. It works flawlessly.

  • It has a pull-to-refresh UI with three tabs: Latest, All unheard, and History. What more could a podcast junkie need?
  • In keeping with the usual podcast UI, an empty circle next to the podcast means it's been heard. A full one means it's new. A half circle means you're partway done.
  • Tap on a podcast, and you can mark it heard or unheard, read the details about it, and edit your subscription.
  • Tap the "Playing" button, and you get an iTunes-y interface. Tap the pointing finger icon, and you get a scrolling vertical coverview interface that makes it easy to switch podcasts, pause, and scrub forward and backward with flicks of your finger.
  • Pandora- and Slacker-like, it plays in the background and lets you control playback with the off-to-the-left control panel.
  • The final winning feature, added in the latest release, is integration with the iPhone sleep timer. This kept me from using the app before because I listen to podcasts while I'm falling asleep and need a timer to shut them off.

End app review. I still have an impossibly complicated podcast setup because I like some podcasts on my Nano and have some video podcasts that need to be downloaded and synced to my Apple TV. And I keep most of my media on an external drive now that I'm using my Air as my primary Mac. Per-podcast iTunes settings allow this skullduggery.

I have my default settings set like this:

Screen shot 2011-01-09 at 6.23.16 AM.png

This way, I can look in iTunes and see what's available, but it doesn't download everything (that would be overkill since I would basically be downloading everything twice: once through Audiopress and once through iTunes). If I see a podcast I haven't heard and want it to list to at the gym, I click "Get", attach the Nano, and load it up.

For the few video podcasts I subscribe to, I alter the default settings to download all new episodes and sync them to my (first-generation) Apple TV. I mention this setup mostly out of pride because I spent an entire day figuring out how to get iTunes to handle an external media library while still allowing me to launch it on the go and download things only to my Air, then not give up the ghost in consternation when I reattached the external hard drive containing the bulk of my media.