If you aren’t someone who is part of the podcast business (disclosure: I make the majority of my income from podcasting), you might not realize that Apple is the dominant player in the field. That dominance is driven by two factors: its definitive directory of podcasts, and the built-in iOS Podcasts app, which drives the majority of podcast listening on the planet.
The slow shift from radio to on-demand audio continues, and companies are noticing. Investment in podcast companies is up, listening is growing, and the podcast advertising market continues to expand. Yet despite its dominance, Apple seems strangely uninterested in podcasting.
It started with the iPod
Apple reached this point because in 2005 it noticed that people were going to great lengths to load the first podcasts onto its iPod music player, and decided to make some effort to make the process easier. Apple released a new version of GarageBand with additional podcast-focused features, created a directory of podcasts using the iTunes Store framework, and updated iTunes to support podcast subscriptions directly. You still had to attach your iPod directly in order to download new episodes, which was not the best, but it beat the old method of loading podcast audio files into iTunes, marking them as songs or audiobooks, and syncing them manually.
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