Developers using the iOS 6 beta have notice that Apple has removed podcast listings from the iTunes mobile app. The reason for that became clear today with the release of Apple's own Podcasts app, available now in the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. The app allows browsing of all the podcasts currently listed in iTunes, adding and managing subscriptions, and automatic downloading (even over cellular). Recommended podcasts are prominently displayed in a "top stations" section of the Library view, though the Catalog view looks just like iTunes mobile. Users have already noticed a "Redeem" button in the app, which may foreshadow a paid podcast platform in the future. Paid subscriptions for podcasts was not mentioned at Apple's iOS 6 announcement at WWDC.
The app is also full of skeuomorphic design elements, from the faux rotating dial for browsing different podcast categories to the tape-deck look of the playback interface. A sleep timer to pause playback when listening in bed is one of the few ways Podcasts differentiates itself from the native Music app, though it's a feature that's in other popular podcast apps like Instacast and Stitcher. I find the ability to sync playback markers between multiple devices useful as well. Podcasts is free in iTunes.