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Apple Launches Podcasts App for iOS 5.1 and Later

When Peter Kafka at AllThingsD hinted at an upcoming Podcasts app for iOS, we didn’t expect to see it until this Fall. Some early tells clued us in that Apple was working on something, and today our best guesses and inside sources held up: Apple has launched their forecasted Podcasts app, and you can download it right now from the App Store.

Wearing Apple’s iconic purple colors in its icon, Apple podcasts app centralizes the podcast player and podcast section of the iTunes Store in a standalone application. Able to playback audio and video podcasts, Podcasts continues the retro-styled playback controls first seen in the updated Music app on the iPad, and shares the the catalogue views from the updated App Store and iTunes Store on iOS 6. At first glance, Apple’s Podcasts podcatcher appears to be a rather basic player, leaving room for power-listeners to continue using their favorite apps like Downcast and Instacast.

With Apple’s standalone podcast player breaking away from the Music player, you’ll want to check out all of the new features below:

• Enjoy all of your audio and video podcasts in a single app
• Explore hundreds of thousands of podcasts including shows in over 40 languages
• Try the innovative new Top Stations feature to find new podcast series in a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more.
• Browse by Audio or Video podcasts, or see what’s most popular in Top Charts
• Tap subscribe for your favorites and automatically receive new episodes for free as they become available
• Stream episodes or download to listen while offline
• Skip forward and back using simple playback controls
• Turn on Sleep Timer to automatically stop playing a podcast while listening in bed
• Share your favorite episodes with friends using Twitter, Messages and Mail
• Optionally sync your favorite episodes from iTunes on your Mac or PC
• Sync your episode playback for seamless transition between devices

Podcasts required iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6.3 for optionally syncing episodes. Download Podcasts (a universal app) from the App Store.

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