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Last week Apple finally released a podcast app for your iPad, iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S) and iPod touch (3rd & 4th generation) — as long as they are running at least iOS 5.1 —  and are, of course, calling it Podcasts. Now, I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts, but there are a few that I do like. I rarely connect my iPad and iPod touch to the computer since switching to iCloud a few months back, and it was a nuisance to have to connect one or the other just to get my podcasts. I usually ended up going through the iTunes store on the touch just to download the latest episodes.

Podcasts has corrected this problem, but not without some aggravation. It’s slow to start up. I mean really slow. Tap a button and wait. I thought that it might be my aging 1st gen iPad that was to blame. It won’t even run iOS 6 when it’s finally released. It’s marginally faster on my current gen iPod touch, but still not what it should be. Let’s call it a work in progress.

Negatives aside, it’s still a step up and it should improve with future updates. It has some nice features. You can set it to just keep the latest 1 or 2 episodes or all episodes. Turn off auto downloads any time you wish or set it to download manually. There is a built-in timer for those who go to sleep at night hooked to headphones. (Who, me?) Set it by time elapsed or to sleep at the end of the episode. That control is actually hidden. If you push the cover art up it will reveal a reel-to-reel tape deck. Hit the rewind control and the little armature actually moves. You can actually see the decrease of tape on one reel while it increases on the takeup reel, all in sync with the actual timeline of the podcast. They didn’t need to do that extra bit of programming, but it’s a cute, humorous touch. Hidden there you will also find controls to speed up or slow down and the sleep timer.

Check it out. It’s not perfect, but it does do the job. Just be patient with it. Maybe it’s my network that slows it down. The iBooks app is slow to launch for me, too.

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