Better iPhone music & podcast apps

I love my iPhone. It's the best phone I have ever owned (well, other than the amazing Sony K750i) but recently I've felt there has to be a better way to listen to music on the move.

I’m a huge music fan and for many years have loved the music / iPod player in the iPhone. I have a 32Gb model so I can carry as much of possible around with me.

Recently I’ve been feeling some discontent.

When I buy a new album (usually at as high a bit rate as possible) I have a playlist set-up that adds anything new to the phone. But once it’s on there, the experience of finding it isn’t easy.

I have to remember what the last album was I bought, then search to find it. If I want to listen to the albums I’ve been listening to recently, I have to set up an iTunes playlist which only updates the list when I sync my phone every few days. Consequently my recently played list is out of date.

There has to be a better way. Well there is. Last.FM recently launched their Scrobbling app. The name doesn’t do it justice. It’s a very good music player.


Last fm screens

It lists my recent played albums, it automatically shows me a list of my top played artists. If I’m in a hurry and want to listen to something I’m going to like it’s a couple of clicks away. Rather than thinking, clicking, thinking approach of the default Apple app.

The Last.fm app also shows if the artist is on tour and shows tour dates. It gives the bio of the band currently playing, it recommends other albums by the same artist in order of ratings (with a click to iTunes to buy). It also uses Last.fm’s far better music recommendation service to play similar music (it’s better than Genius).

All in all it’s a much better music experience and it’s free. Get it now.

reelToreel
If you love podcasts like I do then you know the issues with the horrific Apple-built Podcast app. The way it forgets what was playing, how it takes lots of scrolling and clicking to resume a podcast and don’t get me started on the reel-to-reel skeuomorphic design.

I’ve been using the excellent Downcast app.

It’s easy to set up, and using it is a dream. It remembers the last podcast I was playing and best of all automatically creates a playlist of all my semi-listened-to podcasts making it easy to find what I have been listening to. It also gives finer grained control over what podcasts episodes to download rather than the Apple one-size-fits-all approach. It’s already saved me over 1Gb in phone storage.

The app auto-downloads your podcasts saving me over 3Gb on MacBook Air as I no-longer have to sync podcasts with iTunes. Buy it now, it’s only £1.49.

I’m niceguyjoe on Last.fm by the way, you should follow me.

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