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Apple this week made some major changes to its official Podcasts webpage — including a new streamlined layout and the ability to listen to podcasts directly in a web browser.
The change is similar to recent refreshes of the iTunes and App Store websites, too. All in all, it’s a much cleaner experience that should make it easier for users to find and access the podcast content they want to listen to.
Show landing pages, for example, now prominently display information such as number of episodes, podcast category, producer name, and a dynamically updated star rating.
There are also new episode pages also feature show notes and more granular information about a particular podcast, such as runtime, description and published date.
As mentioned earlier, by and far the most notable change is the fact that users can now stream a podcast directly from the web browser — the site won’t force users to open a podcast in iTunes anymore.
That’s a welcome change for anyone who likes to listen to podcasts on their computer, since it means you won’t have to mess with iTunes to do so.
Of course, there are still the options to share a podcast or open it in iTunes. In fact, opening the app is required to read podcast reviews or access Apple’s trending charts. But the move does make the arguably outdated media management platform much less necessary.
Interestingly, the overhauled podcasts page also ties into rumors that iTunes is on its way out. For one, users can now do a lot more with Podcasts without ever needing to open iTunes. And in another small but not insignificant change, episode links now use a podcasts.apple.com URL instead of an itunes.apple.com one.
The small changes come in the midst of rumors that Apple is on the verge of breaking up the iTunes app on macOS. Recent reports suggest that the next version of the Mac software will feature standalone Apple Music and Podcasts apps.
It isn’t clear when the standalone Podcasts and Music apps for macOS will debut, but if they’re on the table for macOS 10.15 they’ll likely be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.