I am a podcast addict. Unlike the typical podcast listener, I spend a good portion of my day (mostly while commuting, walking, running, doing house chores, etc) listening to one of the close to a hundred different podcasts I’m subscribed to. When you get to that state of heavy podcast listening, you quickly realize that you need something more out of the stock Podcasts app.
For a very long while, I have used an app called Pocket Casts. It is a major podcast player on both Android and iOS. Besides seamless syncing across platforms, Pocket Casts offers the more advanced listener features such as:
- Volume compression
- Sleep timer
- Discovering new podcasts
- Playback speed adjustment (overall as well as per podcast)
- Setting a starting time shift (to skip podcast introductions)
- Smart Lists. Automatically grouping episodes into lists (e.g based on a certain topic, etc)
The one feature that I’ve always been looking for however, has so far not been provided by any major podcasting app on the market. I’m talking about bookmarking or essentially, saving interesting bits and pieces for later reference. I’ve traditionally solved this issue by pausing the app and taking a screenshot of the exact time I’m interested to re-listen. My Photos app got full of such screenshots, one can imagine how often I came back and actually revisited those. Exactly, never.
That is, until I visited an iOS Developer Meetup in Munich a few weeks ago. Accidentally, one of the lightning talks was the story of a podcasting app, which, guess what, allows you to take cuts out of podcast episodes and save them for later use. The app is called Procast, and has become my de-facto number one podcasting app ever since. Oliver, Procast’s creator had been bothered by the same issues that did bother me, but eventually sat down and developed his own solution.
Taking audio cuts is of course an incredibly useful feature, but it alone would not have been alone to make me switch, if the rest of the experience were subpar. And here is where Procast excels. This special feature aside, the app offers an excellent experience, and provides all the well-known features from apps such as Pocket Casts or Overcast. There has not been a single time so far where I felt the overall experience inferior to other apps.
So how does taking an audio cut look like? The UI provides a button that allows taking a cut as you’re listening. All you need to do is tap once to start the cut, and once again to end it:
That’s all great but what if you are on your bike, walking outside or have your phone in your pocket? No problem. Oliver has thought about this as well. For the real advanced listeners, there is an option to take an audio cut using the remote control of your iPhone’s EarPods. A simple gesture consisting of one short touch of the middle button, followed by a longer one, is enough to start the cut. Ending the cut is done using the same gesture. Genius! It does not take at all getting used to the audio cut gesture. I tried it both while standing still, as well as during a run. Sure, you might mess up the timing the first time, but you will become a pro in no time.
Overall, Procast is my new favourite podcasting app and I highly advise everyone to give it a try. Moreover, the fact that the app was not made by a large company, but is the effort of one indie developer based in Munich, makes it even more dear to me. I am all about supporting indie developers, as I am one myself, so you will probably keep hearing about Procast again in upcoming posts. For now, give it a try, it is totally free (as in free, free, not free-but-only-as-long-as-you-keep-tolerating-ugly-ads free). There are a couple of features to be desired in Procast (like the lack of a dark theme), but I’m sure that with enough feedback, those will appear in the app anytime soon.