Apple has once again jumped into the forefront of the emerging-technology wave with Podcasting support for its popular iTunes music player program. With its familiar iTunes Music Store interface, selecting a free podcast is as simple as buying songs. With one click of a button, iTunes will not only subscribe to the 'cast, but download the latest edition of the selected podcast as well as a list of past 'casts, complete with short blurbs detailing the contents of each segment.
Rival software giant Microsoft finds itself lagging in the podcasting arena, already embarrassed by its attempt to play catch-up with the announcement of RSS support in the upcoming Longhorn operating system, not due until late 2006 or early 2007. Apple's Safari web browser has contained integral RSS reader support since just prior to the release of the innovative company's 4th major OS release in as many years, and has maintained a finger on pulse of rising tech trends.
Mac users can upgrade to the new version of iTunes (4.9) using the Software Update link in the Apple menu or System Preferences pane of OS X, or by navigating to www.apple.com/iTunes for the direct download. Windows users can check for updates to the software by using the automatic update function in Preferences or by following the aforementioned link.
Podcasts on nearly any topic can be found by navigating through the hierarchical structure of iTunes Music Store, or users searching for particular casts such as Podcast pioneer Adam Curry's Daily Source Code can use the search window function in the iTunes Music Store, the same as searching for a particular tune. Downloading to an iPod is identical to music as well, as a podcast can be dragged and dropped directly into a playlist set up on the iPod.
RSS and Podcasting support--can a lyrics database be far behind? One thing is certain--Apple is the company to watch for now. 'Cast off! [Britt Godwin]