Castro: Podcast Player
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The New York Times chose Castro as a Best App of 2016!
Castro is the first app that is designed to help you track a broad range of shows and pick out the episodes that appeal to you. To do this, we introduce a concept that is new to podcast apps: episode triage.
Triage allows you to scan new episodes and decide whether you’re interested or not.
- Inbox: Newly published episodes land here. Review the descriptions, queue the best ones and archive the rest.
- Queue: A central playlist to plan your listening in advance. Queued episodes are automatically downloaded, and can be re-ordered or archived any time.
You can set your favourite shows to queue automatically and use the inbox to triage the rest.
This allows you to expand your listening habits without overwhelming your play queue. Subscribing to a podcast doesn't have to be a commitment to listen to every episode. You don’t have to choose a narrow few shows and miss out on the rest.
SHARING AND DISCOVERING NEW PODCASTS
Castro provides the top charts by genre so you can browse popular shows easily. Tap search to easily find shows you know or hear about.
Personal recommendations from friends are another great way to find new shows. Castro users can easily share direct links to specific episodes. Tapping a Castro link will open the episode in the app, where you can queue it right away without subscribing to the entire podcast. If your friends don't have Castro yet, a beautiful web interface lets them play the episode from a browser.
The Castro iMessage App on iOS 10 makes sharing even easier.
- Easily share recently played episodes with your friends and family
- When you receive a recommendation from someone else add it to your queue without leaving the Messages app
Castro maintains a chronological list of your played episodes in History. This makes it easy to find these episodes for sharing later.
If you hear an episode you love, you can star it. Your starred list becomes your personal podcast hall of fame, allowing you to easily share your favourite episodes next time someone asks you for a recommendation.
ALL THESE EXTRA FEATURES
- Castro sports an elegant dark mode and well-thought out sleep timer, offering the best in night time podcast listening.
- Our "Tentacles" backend server constantly scans for new episodes across every podcast, so your phone doesn’t have to, saving battery life and data usage.
- Castro can notify you as soon as episodes are published.
- Download and Storage management: Queued episodes are automatically downloaded, so you can focus on deciding what you want to hear and let Castro manage the details.
- Fine scrubbing: drag the playhead to scan quickly, or drag the waveform for precision scrubbing.
- Beautifully rendered full screen show notes allow you to follow up and explore links of episodes that provide these details.
- Rotation support, and big playback controls on the player for easy use while driving.
What's New in Version 2.3
We focused on bug fixes and polish for this version, but we also fit in some nice new features.
If you enjoy using Castro please rate this version on the App Store.
[ NEW ]
* Expanded interactive notifications, including podcast artwork summary text and have Queue Next / Queue Last notification actions. Now you have enough info to do triage right in the notification.
* If you pause an episode with less than 3 minutes left on a podcast, an interactive notification allows you to skip the rest of the episode or start the next one.
* Support FAQ site linked from settings
* Pausing and then resuming the sleep timer with less than 60s left will extend the sleep timer.
* Adds new 5 Hour Queue Size setting.
* Adds 5s and 10s skip interval options. Previously 15s was the shortest.
[ CHANGED ]
* After interruptions (e.g. turn by turn navigation) Castro will skip back 1.5s so you can remember where you were.
* Sleep timer no longer updates the lock screen every second (it still shows minutes, but if a notification arrived that turned on the screen, updating every second was keeping the screen on.)
* Toggling the notification settings off and on will re-register the device for push notifications. (This is useful as a fix if you aren’t getting new episodes after restoring from an iOS backup)
* No more emoji on inbox notifications, since inbox is the default location.
* Castro now requires iOS 10.0
* Notifications are no longer grouped if there are > 5 of them. We decided that it conflicts too much with using notifications for triage.
* If you turn on notification permission, all notification types default to on now. Previously they defaulted to off, which confused people who thought that they only had to toggle the switch.
* Looking up a podcast by pasting feed://podcasturl.com/ into the search bar now works.
* Pasting a castro.fm share link into the search box will now find the podcast.
* Pull to refresh on a podcast screen to reload that podcast entirely, rather than checking for events. This is handy for clearing up issues with missing episodes or cached incorrect metadata.
[ FIXED ]
* Streaming performance is vastly improved.
* A bug where Castro would only inbox the first episode when a podcast would release multiple episodes together is now fixed.
* Improves error messages in search/subscribe when a podcast is offline.
* Fixes errors when subscribing to new feeds that have to be imported, these errors should be less common and more descriptive if there is a real problem.
* Fixed an issue with pasting Overcast / Pocket Casts / iTunes links in search.
* Tapping the search bar when your Mac is nearby no longer hangs for a few seconds.
* Fixes an issue with podcasts that would download to 99% then fail, but would stream correctly.
* An issue where a podcast could be duplicated in the subscriptions list can now be fixed by unsubscribing to both copies, then resubscribing through search.
* A bug where some podcasts could end up in a state where they wouldn’t send notifications was fixed.
* App no longer crashes if you open the discovery tab with a Bitmoji in your clipboard.
* Pressing “Play Now” in a notification no longer fails when streaming.
* Downloads triggered off of “queue” notification action no longer require the app to be opened before starting.
[ UI / VISUAL FIXES ]
* Performance of transition animations improved a lot.
* Cell layout glitch introduced in iOS 10.2 where the cell background would animate incorrectly when revealing/hiding actions is fixed.
* Moving the text cursor in the search box no longer triggers the swipe back gesture.
* Podcasts settings buttons were getting animated in the wrong order and from the wrong position.
* Episode title marquee on player screen could get stuck, but now it shouldn’t.
* Fixes an issue where lists can animate bizarrely when scrolling if metadata changes in the background.
* Launch screen placeholder didn’t match launch screen properly.
Love It - Better than PocketCasts/Overcast
Love it. For my use case, it's much better than PocketCasts and Overcast. So glad I bit the bullet and paid full price. I usually use AppShopper and wait for a sale, but was having so much trouble making PC meet my usage (even posted on Reddit for advice). I had paid for PC first only because it was multi platform. Don't get me wrong, PC is a great app, and their support was fairly responsive, I just think it's for people that listen to every episode.
I couldn't get PC or Overcast to keep an easy record of the podcast episodes I've actually played. I'm only a recent podcast convert, and I already subscribe to 40 (and growing) podcasts. I don't listen to every episode for any of them, so the Inbox feature helps so much for triage. The Archive lets me easily see the episodes I've actually listened to before, and favorite my actual faves. PC, for example, only let me track discrete episodes by starring. The only way to know if they'd been played is by keeping the download, which isn't practical even with 128 GB of storage.
Some improvements I'd like to see: audio boost (apparently planned for 2.4), smart speed or cut out pauses (planned though not promised for later), and cutting out beginning or end of episodes by certain # of seconds (to cut out intros and outros). I heard about the status of the first 2 in the devs' own podcast and I will be emailing the final suggestion.
Get's the most important thing right
I'm giving Castro five stars, not because it's perfect, but because it solves my biggest podcast problem better than anything else. Castro pretty much replicates the podcast workflow I was performing manually, but with far fewer taps on the screen. I'll mention a few features that might not be apparent before or even after using it. The Archive functions as your list of subscribed podcasts, where you can find old episodes and configure each podcast to be delivered to the inbox, queue or archive. The Archive also has a History button, and you can go in there to star any recently played podcasts that you want to remember. Finally, my car stereo back and forward buttons implemented the rewind/forward feature. I think this skipped between podcasts on another app, so I was taken aback at first, but then realized that I have far more reason to use rewind/forward than skip.
Amazing and Innovative App!
So great on all fronts, and the inbox/queue system works so perfectly for how I listen to podcasts. The design and animations are also some of the best I've ever seen on a podcast client (the night mode gesture blows my mind!).
I will however say that the app is still not mature and is missing several key features. First and foremost, it needs an iPad app. Secondly, the now playing screen could be reformatted to better take advantage of show artwork, show notes, and chapters (which aren't currently supported). It could also really benefit from creating a smart speed feature like the one Overcast pioneered and Pocket Casts just introduced. Finally, the descover tab needs to be more fleshed out and could benefit from looking more like either Overcast or Pocket Casts. Overall, the app has a fantastic and well designed foundation to grow on and is certainly worth switching to if you like it's inbox system, but it does need to see improvements or it will fall behind its competitors in terms of features.
Great job guys!
It is worth noting that there are some bugs still prevalent in the app, such as downloads constantly failing or streaming not working well, but the app is also very new. If we go another six months and these issues are still prevalent, then my rating will drop. Once again, thanks for all the hard work guys!