Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Life with Apple: Podcasts move to streaming only

In a move that feels as inevitable as death and taxes, Apple has made podcasts effectively streaming only. The same thing is likely to happen to all media, Podcasts just went first.

Until recently macOS iTunes and iOS Podcasts.app supported both file based sync, including Playlists, and streaming based distribution with an unreliable sync of podcast metadata.

With iOS 11 iTunes playlists are no longer represented in Podcasts.app. You can still create Playlists in iTunes made up of local files and/or cloud references, but they stay in iTunes. The Playlists were the main way I organized listening to my large collection of file-based In Our Time podcasts and my medical education podcasts. No more. I’m now dependent on the very limited (ok, crap) organization abilities of Podcasts.app.

Apple has long had problems with video that moved to an iPhone from both iCloud and iTunes. iBooks synchronization is a mess too if you mix non-Apple store ePub with streamed iBook.

This is ugly and going to get worse. We’re moving fast into the DRMd hard data-lock rental-only future.

Update: Many good threads on this in Apple Communities. They reminded me to leave feedback. Stations are not a substitute for playlist sync, but even on their own they are missing a key filter — limit to on-device items.


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Sean said...

I have moved away from apple apps in both of these areas in search of more customization and avoidance of Apple's forced changes such as what you mention (two sides of the same coin, really).

iBooks was nice for a while, but I switched to Marvin (using Calibre on my mac and Dropbox to sync) to have more control of the experience. Same thing on podcasts, I moved to Overcast after using Apple Podcasts for a while.

Anonymous said...

To piggyback on your comment Sean, though not to veer too far away from the topic, all of Apple's native apps -- Maps, Calendar, Mail, Reminders, Notes, etc. are severely lacking.

Sean said...

True enough. I use the apple calendar app, but none of the others.