If you have a day job and had just started upgrading your iOS devices when you got home yesterday evening, it’s likely haven’t even spent a few hours with iCloud yet. The premise is pretty amazing, even if the initial majority of it is between iOS devices. If you think automatically syncing spreadsheets and documents across iCloud from your iPad to iPhone is cool, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond document syncing, iCloud opens up a world of added convenience that wasn’t available previously. Just think about being able to sync your Angry Birds progress between devices. But we can take that even further. What if we could sync something like RSS feeds between devices? Now you’re thinkin’.
Instacast goes beyond simply syncing your lists of podcasts. It remembers to update which episodes you’ve marked as played, it remembers to add new podcasts you’ve subscribed to across devices, and it even remembers what episode you were listening to. The last item is the magical part: it syncs track position and loads that episode you were listening to in the now playing window if you pause the podcast and want to pick up from another device later. Resuming a podcast is as simple as tapping the up arrow after a refresh. Now this? This is amazinger.
This is one of the best use cases for iCloud. Instacast syncs lots of data to keep everything in sync. While there’s not much I can add beyond Martin’s blog post on Vemedio, the wow-factor can’t be emphasized enough.
With the amount of data being synced, there are some things to remember about Instacast’s iCloud sync. Geeks will immediately try, two devices in hand, to see how instant syncing is. If you don’t allow Instacast to get its data in the cloud, you may run into conflicts where your impatience could overwrite the changes you wanted to save. I imagine this is more true for big podcast libraries. You treat it like you treat Tweet Marker — it’s all designed to be very casual. With that said, syncing shouldn’t take five minutes, but I wouldn’t expect it to be split-second instant. A pull-to-refresh will sync changes down from iCloud while uploading takes place automatically.
Instacast 1.4 has a new audio engine inside for iOS 5 compatibility, bringing back scrolling titles on the lock screen (a bigger deal if you were an early iOS 5 adopter) and adding Apple TV support for AirPlay. If you want to get caught up on what Instacast does and how great it really is, check out our previous reviews.