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Instapaper’s Marco Arment Sets His Sights on New Podcast App

Marco Arment is the co-founder of Tumblr, the micro-blogging platform that lead the web 2.0 charge in the mid 2000s. He also created Instapaper, the “Read Later” bookmarklet web service. The guy’s a heavy hitter in the development world.


Last year he sold Instapaper to Betaworks for what I’m guessing was a lot of money. Now, he has his sights on the app market, according to the rumor mill. And that’s a good thing.

Anyone who’s tried Apple’s native app, knows it has a less-than-spectacular reputation. Sure there were improvements made recently, and I haven’t tried the latest incarnation, but I’m guessing I’d still find it wanting. I currently use Instacast, and I’ve researched Swell a bit, but I’m always on the look out for the latest and greatest.

Turns out Arment loves his podcasts too. He even had his own show, Build and Analyze, that he hosted with Dan Benjamin. It aired its last episode in December.

Suffice it to say, he’s familiar with the medium, and would honor the needs and wants of podcast addicts as far as interface and functionality are concerned.

Arment has said he thinks Apple’s latest operating system is ripe for app developers looking to cash in, as long as they are willing to buck the old ways, and go hyper-modern.

Will we soon see an iOS 7-specific application that gives the podcast listeners everything they need? We shall see, but Arment is definitely the man to watch.

The iPhone Podcast App sucks

ImageLet’s start this whole thing off with apps–you’ve got ’em, I’ve got ’em. Everybody has an app they use. I like my weather apps, and my social network apps. I have some I never use that sit around on my mobile desktop, taking up space. Taunting me as I slide past them everyday. Who knew I’d never use that bar code scanner app I downloaded two years ago? I certainly didn’t. It seemed like a logical option for any good consumer.I just don’t have the heart to delete it. Seems like a waste of money. I spent $1.99 on that thing! Two years ago.

There is one thing I use my iPhone for daily, like three to four times in a single 24-hour period, and that’s podcasts. The humor, banter, and the narcissistic psycho-social analysis get me through workouts and traffic like nobody’s business. I rely on them to take me out of some of life’s more mundane activities, so a program that allows me to access my favorite podcasts quickly is invaluable to me. On that note, I’ll be the 300th to say it:

  • The native Apple podcast app blows! Let’s just tick off all the problems I had with it:
  • The feed’s all jacked up. Sometimes it takes days for the latest podcasts to show up.
  • The interface is pretty (as are most things Apple), but the navigation’s confusing and you have to go by way of ass to get to elbow, as my mother would put it, to get to the episode you want.
  • I’ve never gotten through a show without some kind of streaming issue. They cut out, and buffer for a year, before shutting down altogether. Very frustrating.

After months of trolling apple forums, and discussion boards, I decided to seek out alternatives. And boy am I glad I did. I downloaded Instacast, and never looked back:

  • I can manage all of my subscriptions on one page
  • The feed’s up-to-the-minute. I never have to wait for an episode. It’s streaming for me as soon as the admin uploads its.
  • The setting’s feature allows you to control every aspect of the app: streaming, order sorting, playback. You have ultimate control.

So I paid $2.99 for the thing. Big deal. It was completely worth it, given the time I spent using it. If you’re just getting into podcasts, don’t let the native app deter you from this burgeoning art form. This really isn’t a promotion for Instacast as much as it is a demotion for Apple. They’re called “pod”casts for a reason. I guess that’s what really frustrates me. Clearly they don’t see them as important as I do.