The new Apple Podcast App. (Photo : Apple)
Apple's latest app release came as a surprise to many industry analysts who expected them to launch the new podcast feature with the release of the iOS 6 and possibly the iPhone 5. Instead, Apple has chosen to quietly release a standalone app for podcasts, and remove it from the iTunes store and the default iOS Music app in their latest iOS 6 version to developers.
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The move could be a sign that big things are coming this fall - like the iPhone 5 - and a sneak peek at what the device will be able to do. According to a report, the iPhone 5 launch is slated for September of this year.
Apple recently showcased their upcoming iOS 6 at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) along with many of its new features. It was understood that Apple planned to revamp and upgrade their current user interface in order to better deliver an all-around service.
The podcast feature was expected to roll out with the new iOS 6 since Apple recently released their new line of Macbooks and have consumers currently satisfied with a new Apple product. The iOS 6 is planned for a fall release and has everybody thinking that it will coincide to a new iPhone and possibly an iPad Mini.
So why release the podcast feature now? There is no indication that Apple users were clamoring for a standalone podcast feature, so maybe Apple simply feels that this fall will have enough to make people excited. This way, the podcast app is simply a taste of things to come, and reiterates Apple's new policy of bringing more services as standalone in-house departments.
For instance, Apple is planning on letting go of Google as its main map app and replacing it with its own Apple Maps app which will be released with iOS 6.
It's clear that the podcast app, since it is not an iPhone 5-only feature, does elicit any specific abilities of the next iPhone. What it does do, however, is show us the direction that Apple is taking, and that the next iPhone may be more than a simple upgrade from the ones before, and that Apple is planning on being a different, more robust experience.