iTunes gives you podcasts on a plate

Apple has now released iTunes 4.9, the new version that supports podcasts. I’ve installed it and tried it – and it rocks.

Let me tell you – for podcasters and podcast listeners, this is what simplicity looks like. With literally just a couple of mouse clicks you can subscribe to a podcast within iTunes, get it on your PC and into your iPod. How easier would you like it?

Lots of blog talk today already.

I plan to explore the new iTunes podcast directory in more detail – especially re publishing podcasts – but from a first and quick look and try, it is terrific as an easy means to subscribe to podcasts with a single program. For Immediate Release is listed, so it’s now even easier for you to get your favourite PR podcast 😉

How easy? This easy:

  1. Load iTunes.
  2. Click on Music Store in the source list on the left of your screen.
  3. Under Categories, choose Audio Blogs.
  4. At the screen that appears, scroll down the alphabetical listening until you get to For Immediate Release.
  5. In the Price column, just click on the Subscribe button (it’s free to subscribe).
  6. A dialog pops up asking you if you want to subscribe. Of course you do, so you can click on ‘Subscribe.’
  7. Sit back and relax as the latest show downloads to your PC.

Naturally this works for any podcast you want to subscribe to!

You can customize your podcast subscription settings for frequency of checking for updates, just as you can with your current podcatcher.

So what does iTunes 4.9 mean for podcatcher developers like iPodder and DopplerRadio as well as for RSS aggregators like FeedDemon that include podcatching capabilities? Well, it seems to me that the most obvious thing is that you probably won’t need those applications now – iTunes 4.9 does it all: subscribe, automatically download, sync with your iPod.

This really is easy podcatching for the masses.

One crucial thing to note if you do download this new version of iTunes to be your podcatcher – make sure you first check that your iPod or iPod Mini has the latest firmware (as I write, the latest firmware updater was released on 26 June), and update it if necessary. Here’s why, from the firmware updater readme file:

Note: iTunes earlier than version 4.9 are supported for music and photo sync only and will not sync podcasting properly with iPod.

And here’s an interesting Apple note:

[…] If the podcast you download comes with bookmarks, you can zip around within it on any click wheel iPod, just as you would with an audiobook.

That needs some checking out…

If you want more info right now, Josh Hallett has posted some detailed commentaries on his first looks complete with screenshots.

[UPDATE 29 June] Dave Taylor has a good primer on how to use iTunes as a podcatcher, complete with screenshots.

9 thoughts on “iTunes gives you podcasts on a plate

  1. Except they neglected to remind me to download and install a new version of iPod updater. So I:
    1) Downloaded and installed iTunes 4.9.
    2) Immediately subscribed to For Immediate Release.
    3) Plugged in my iPod to sync overnight.
    4) Woke up this morning with nothing on my iPod.
    There’s no note on the Apple site to remind people to do this. Why not? And why isn’t Updater part of the iTunes software bundle? Yeah, I forgot to think of this but I would have expected something to remind me.
    Frustrating.
    –Chris

  2. I don’t own an iPod. I use a Creative MuVo. Can iTunes sync downloaded podcasts to any media device or only to Apple’s iPod? If the later, it is of no use to me.

  3. Given that if you don’t make sure your iPod or iPod Mini has the latest firmware, 4.9 won’t sync podcasts properly, I agree with you, Chris, that this is something that really ought to be highlighted in some way, either on the Apple iTunes site or somewhere in the iTunes documentation. But it’s not.
    Roy, I think I’m correct in saying that iTunes 4.9 only supports iPods as far as synchronizing is concerned, ie, automatically transferring songs, podcasts, etc. Other digital players would be supported but only if they’re seen as hard drives in Windows and you’d then have to drag-and-drop MP3 files via Windows Explorer. Can’t find any specific info at iTunes Support, though. However, I did find this Wikipedia article which talks about how other players are supported:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes#Synchronizing_iPod_and_other_players

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