Pocket Casts is one of the best smartphone apps for listening to podcasts. While podcasts on a basic level are just audio files that can be listened to through any media player, Pocket Casts has a number of podcast-specific design features that make it a particularly appealing option despite its premium cost ($4, in comparison to the various free options). For example, Pocket Casts has easily-accessible options for trimming silence and adjusting playback speed. The benefit of trimming silence is unique to podcasts since they are often long-form conversations with many pauses (I have saved several hours in total with this feature). Pocket Casts also has a tab that organizes your podcasts into filters, which by default include “new releases” and “in progress”, which I also find particularly useful. I usually listen to podcasts during small gaps of free time (e.g. in the car) and rarely finish them in one sitting, so it is very helpful to be able to easily find the unfinished ones. Another design choice that stands out to me as fitting well with the app’s use case is that tapping the top of the screen changes the interface from day to night mode, which is convenient for users who like to listen to podcasts before sleeping. Pocket Casts stands out in that it has been able to succeed in a market with almost no barriers to entry and many free alternatives because of its evident commitment to the user experience of podcast listeners.
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