Apple Mainstreams Podcasts
As promised by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the latest version of iTunes, 4.9, supports podcasting.
Everything a user needs to find, subscribe, listen, and manage podcasts has been delivered in the latest version of iTunes. Apple’s popular music store has been influential in helping drive sales of the Cupertino-based company’s iconic iPod media player.
“Apple is taking Podcasting mainstream by building it right into iTunes,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Podcasting is the next generation of radio, and users can now subscribe to over 3,000 free Podcasts and have each new episode automatically delivered over the Internet to their computer and iPod.”
In the new Podcast directory in iTunes, the company has listed podcasts from such names as Disney and ESPN, the BBC, NPR, and podcasting inventor Adam Curry. Apple’s iTunes now has one of the largest podcast directories on the web.
The iTunes functionality allows for users to bring in podcasts and have them automatically sync to their iPod. Apple has sold over 15 million iPods through the first calendar quarter of 2005.
Podcasting is the process of recording an audio file and posting it to the Internet. Users then subscribe to receive updates on their media players whenever a new podcast has been added to the subscription.
The process works similar to heavily hyped RSS feed aggregation, but instead of a feed reader gathering text links, podcasting software gathers podcast updates. If a user were subscribed to a particular podcaster, like Mr. Curry, their software would automatically grab his latest podcast update when it becomes available.
Licensing issues will probably keep the format focused on talk shows; the myriad problems involved with music rights will limit music shows to artists who aren’t tied to a major music label.
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.