Back in early May, Vemedio released a first beta of Instacast for Mac. Instacast is my podcast client of choice on the iPhone and iPad, and I was eager to see whether Instacast could fulfill my long-standing wish of a proper podcast app for OS X. Instacast is officially out of beta today, and it’s my new favorite podcast app for Mac.
There isn’t much to say about Instacast for Mac that hasn’t already been explained in our review of Instacast 3.0 for iOS. The Mac version retains the same interface and episode management principles of its iOS counterpart: you can subscribe to podcasts and organize them in lists, sort them by parameters such as Title or Date, or delve deeper into subscription-specific settings for refresh times and automatic download/deletion options. Literally everything that you know about Instacast 3.0 for iOS – including the app’s design style – has been ported to OS X with this first release.
There’s some stuff that has been built exclusively for the Mac. I am particularly fond of Instacast’s rich selection of keyboard shortcuts, which fit well with the Mac’s nature and will help you save time if you’re looking for a specific command or option (there are many of them, so remembering each one of them may require special mnemonic skills).
I like when developers porting popular iOS apps to the Mac don’t simply convert their projects for a desktop window: that was the case with Tweetbot (another app that took advantage of OS X features like keyboard shortcuts and larger displays), and, fortunately, it’s happening with Instacast as well through the aforementioned shortcuts and an iTunes-like MiniPlayer. Available through the Window menu (with the keyboard, it’s ⌥⌘2), the MiniPlayer allows you to check on either the episode you’re listening to (with a widget that’s got a minimal footprint on your desktop) or to the ones that you have queued up for later thanks to – another Mac-only feature – Up Next support. Again, similarly to iTunes 11, Instacast lets you send specific episodes to a list that you can consult and modify while you’re already listening to something else.
Another feature that’s currently exclusive to Instacast for Mac is local text search: if you remember an episode that had a particular keyword in its title or description, you can look for it. This is especially useful for names of apps or services that are mentioned in podcasts, but I wish it was possible to save recurring searches.
Instacast for Mac is Instacast 3.0, responsibly and intelligently ported to OS X. It’s not a simple conversion of the iOS app as it takes advantage of the Mac in obvious, but still welcome ways. Sync with Instacast Cloud, initially spotty in the beta, has been reliable and fast for me in the last builds, making the process of switching between devices and continuing to listening to podcasts seamless.