Following recent rumors of Apple potentially breaking off Apple Music, Podcasts, and other service from iTunes, it appears the Cupertino brand has updated the web version for a cleaner, more streamlined, and easier to navigate layout.
Perhaps the most important out of all the changes is that episodes can now be played directly on the web, no need to load up iTunes. Episodes now get their own landing page, which provides show notes and the ability to listen directly from there. There's still an option to open up iTunes, which users will want to do if they intend to read reviews or access trending charts. Generally, however, this update effectively negates the need for iTunes just to binge Fresh Air.
Apple Podcasts Move Away From iTunes
It also makes the rumors of Apple phasing out iTunes — or at least removing it as the de facto platform from which users gain access to many Apple services — seem likely. In fact, the episode links use a podcast.apple.com URL instead of itunes.apple.com, which is further proof of the iTunes rumors.
The old Apple Podcasts web interface was similar to the iTunes web design that Apple dropped back in 2017. It showed a simple list of episodes, episode titles, and descriptions. If a user attempted to play an episode, they would be redirected to open iTunes. The web interface also didn't make full show notes or other episode details visible.
9to5Mac first reported that Apple will bring a dedicated Podcasts app to the Mac with the next major version of macOS. It will apparently offer a greatly improved listening experience for all podcast listeners, as the current experience is underwhelming in iTunes. It's not just Podcasts that's coming, either — Apple is also reportedly bringing standalone versions of Apple Music, Apple TV, and more to macOS.
Is iTunes Going Away?
Those rumors make sense, as iTunes doesn't have a particularly sterling reputation even among Apple fans. The program has been criticized for being sluggish, unnecessary, and acting as a gatekeeper of Apple's other services. Besides that, the iTunes branding doesn't align with Apple Podcasts on iOS, which is probably how most users listen on their iPhones or iPads. Breaking the service off of iTunes would not only be ideal but might greatly improve the experience for people who loathe being forced to use iTunes.
Thoughts about the new Apple Podcasts web interface? As always, if you have any thoughts, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!