Podcasts have become a staple form of information and entertainment for many people, and considering the fact that the very name stemmed from the word iPod, it is surprising that Apple has not release a podcast tool until not. Podcasts is an iPhone and iPad app that has been designed to make it easier to not only listen to podcasts, but also discover new ones, automatically download the latest episodes and much more.

The app interface is virtually identical to that of the App Store and iTunes store, and when you find a podcast that you are interested in you can listening or watching by streaming it, and you also have the option of subscribing which means that future episodes will be automatically downloaded to your iOS devices. This synchronization extends to playback position, so you can start listening to a podcast on one device, and finish on another – including your Mac or PC.

To help avoid the problem of running out of space, you can place a limit on the number of episodes that are retained, and there are a number of other handy features such as a sleep timer for those occasions when you are listening to a podcast in bed as your drift off to sleep. As you would expect from any appp with an internet connection, podcast can be shared via your preferred social networks. One of the nicest features of the app is the Catalog which works in much the same way as iBooks and helps you t find podcasts that you are interested in – although the rotary dial category selection is a little unusual.

While this is all great in theory, this is an app that is far from perfect. The initial release has caused some users to experience problem with synchronization as well as with notifications. As this is a first release, it possible to cut a little slack, but coming from Apple, it’s only right that people should expect more. This is certainly an interesting app, and while at the moment it is not really essential, it is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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A good idea but flawed, Apple’s Podcasts is hopefully an app that will improve with time as development continues.