There is an absolute mayhem of podcasts apps on the App Store. And yes, there are quite a bunch of amazing ones too with Apple’s own Podcasts app doing good.
But amidst this collection that involves big names like InstaCast, DownCast and PocketCasts, Castro wants to be right on top for being the first iOS 7-specific podcast app for the iPhone. It’s a new app with a few missing features but it has been designed amazingly well and comes with a functionality that is confident, minimal and kickass.
The mantra of iOS 7-centric apps is minimalism in design and intent. Castro seems to have embedded this into its DNA. The interface is simple, elegant and surprisingly beautiful too. The developers and designers seem to have laid focus and emphasis on making the app as easy and intuitive as possible through easily-recognizable icons and actions.
Design-wise, Castro brings a fresh look to the whole notion of podcast management. You can add podcasts easily by tapping on the “+” and keying in a few search terms. Each podcast has settings to configure: auto-download, news mode, subscribe/unsubscribe, playback speed etc. There aren’t any generalized settings.
The app has a playback bar at the bottom so you can control the podcast playback no matter where you are within the app. So in effect, you can be looking through episode meta data and still control the playback right from that screen. Beats the “Now Playing” thing that most podcasts make you tap on in order to control the playback of the podcast.
The full-scale color backgrounds take their cues from the color of the icons of the podcast channels you subscribe to. And Castro does it quite brilliantly that makes the app look cool and appealing. The main screen has Podcasts/Episodes tabs which takes you to your favorite podcast channels or to the latest episodes you have to catch up on: instantly. You can also set the size limits such that old episodes get cleared when new ones come up and there’s not enough space.
While Castro does have some disadvantages like it doesn’t work on an iPad (yet) and does not support video playback (yet), we’re hoping that these will be upcoming features.
Castro is available on the App Store for $2.99 (price for a limited time).