Why Audacity 2.0.1 is the most-helpful update and you should get it. And how Apple’s Podcasts app for iOS works and will benefit podcasters.
Audacity 2.0.1 is the “most-useful update”
When the Audacity Team pushed the last Audacity 1.3 beta into a final 2.0, it was mostly bug fixes (and some introductions) and a version change. But not many features were enhanced or added in the major update.
Audacity 2.0.1 comes along and fixes several bugs, but also introduces some extremely useful features.
Keyboard shortcuts for effects and plugins. If you have some favorite plugins, you can stop searching for them from your Effects menu and give them a keyboard shortcut through the Keyboard Preferences.
Plugins can be added to Chains. If you always use the same settings in the same plugins to process your audio (like I do), you can now add those effects and their saved settings inside a chain! This is especially helpful since Chris’s Dynamic Compressor doesn’t save settings, but you can create a Chain to remember them!
New “Paulstretch” effect. Have you heard when people super-slow down a pop song and turn it into something beautiful (even a Justin Bieber song)?
They usually used the standalone Paulstretch program. Now you can apply the same effect right within Audacity to slow down audio with no pitch change. This does a much better job than Audacity’s built-in speed changers.
Apple’s new Podcasts app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
With a recent iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) 6 developer beta, many people had noticed that the podcasts section was removed from the Music app. This led to speculation that Apple would launch a standalone Podcasts app, just like they had for iBooks and Newstand.
The rumors were true and Apple launched the Podcasts app on Tuesday, June 26. I think it’s a great idea, but poorly executed.
Here is Apple’s email to podcasters announcing the new app.
Dear Podcast Provider,
Podcasts on iTunes Store are now available through Podcasts app, the easiest way to discover, subscribe to and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
- Enjoy all of your audio and video podcasts in a single app
- Explore hundreds of thousands of podcasts including shows in over 40 languages
- Try the innovative new Top Stations feature to find new podcast series in a variety of topics, including arts, business, comedy, music, news, sports, and more
- Browse by Audio or Video podcasts, or see what’s most popular in Top Charts
- Tap subscribe for your favorites and automatically receive new episodes for free as they become available
- Stream episodes or download to listen while offline
- Sync your episode playback for seamless transition between devices
You can download Podcasts app at itunes.com/podcastsapp.
The iTunes Podcast team
- A standalone app brings a lot more attention to podcasts on Apple’s mobile devices.
- Already bringing a lot more attention to podcasts.
- Could make the podcast subscription and consumption process a lot easier.
- iOS users can finally subscribe to a podcast on their mobile device (they could only download individual episodes before).
- The Podcasts app can stream podcast episodes so they’ll play over wi-fi or a data connection without having to download the whole file first.
- Subscribed podcasts will automatically download new episodes over wi-fi or a data connection.
- Podcast cover art is more prominent (though still not 1,400 x 1,400?).
- Claimed synchronization across iOS devices and optionally back to iTunes.
- Smart Chapters navigation for enhanced podcasts.
- Sleep mode.
- Bigger, more conveniently placed playback and skip buttons.
- Episodes play sequentially without stopping.
- Audio and video podcasts are finally in the same app.
- Essentially a new app/filter for the iTunes store.
- There’s a sad possibility that the Podcasts app will not come preinstalled on future iOS devices (just as iBooks hasn’t been up to this point).
- iTunes- and device-syncing do not work as claimed and promoted.
- Playback speed is buried under the cover art and doesn’t stick between episodes.
- Podcast cover art still doesn’t display at 1,400 x 1,400 pixels—it’s 1,000 x 1,000 on the new iPad, or 500 x 500 on older iPads. Even smaller on iPhone/iPod Touch.
- Playback position and time indication are buried under the cover art.
- Episode sorting defaults to newest episode first and must be changed for every podcast.
- Undesired episodes can’t be hidden when you’ve subscribed.
- Individual cover art doesn’t display, only the show-level cover art.
- Lyrics tag is missing.
- Podcasts are searchable only by podcast and episode titles, despite Apple’s saying that metadata would be searchable. It turns out this behavior is the same on desktop iTunes, too. Andy Traub encourages jamming more information into podcast titles, but I don’t think this is the best solution—but it may be the only one for now.
- The “top stations” browser is extremely slow, and buggy with many podcasts’ cover art.
Also listen to these couple other reviews on the Podcasts app:
- Cliff Ravenscraft on Podcast Answer Man; and
- Gary Leland, Rob Walch, Dave Jackson, Ray Ortega, and myself on Today in Podcasting.
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