Apple hits one billion podcast subscriptions via iTunes store

one billion podcasts appleApple on Monday announced a new milestone – one billion podcast subscriptions via its iTunes store.

The format, which allows anybody to create an audio or video show on any topic, arrived in the iTunes store eight years ago. Content producers include anyone from bedroom-based amateurs to global media organizations, between them offering a hugely diverse range of material.

“From comedy to hard news to sport to innovative educational content and so much more, podcasting has transformed the global media landscape,” Apple said in an announcement on its iTunes podcast page. “The heart of podcasting is finding your favorite voices in this exciting field, and subscribing to the best ones.” And then remembering to listen to them all. Actually, it’d be interesting to know how many enthusiastic downloaders of podcasts actually take the time to plow through them all. I mean, how many times have you excitedly subscribed to a show only to forget about it after a few listens, leaving your iPhone to gradually fill up with new episodes that sit there undisturbed until you get around to sorting them all out?

Anyway, the Cupertino company is marking the milestone by highlighting some of the most popular podcasts from across the eight years alongside a number of current and up-and-coming shows. The selection is country-specific, with US users offered classics such as Real Time with Bill Maher and Happy Tree Friends, and others including TEDTalks, The Rich Eisen Podcast and Aerial America.

Apple told Macworld this week that the iTunes store currently holds around 250,000 different podcasts in more than 100 languages that together add up to somewhere in the region of eight million episodes.

The Cupertino company launched a standalone iPod app for iOS last year, extracting it from the Music app, though it was widely criticized for being clunky and awkward to use. A recent update, however, improved the offering markedly, so much so that in his review DT’s AJ Dellinger was moved to describe it as a “fully functional and viable option for podcast addicts.”

Home Theater

Spotify Premium cribs from Pandora with new Endless Artist Radio feature

As Pandora continues to catch up to Spotify in terms of the features it offers, Spotify is returning the favor, adding Endless Artist Radio for Premium subscribers as well as other features such as newly streamlined navigation.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Movies & TV

You can ditch cable but still get your 'SportsCenter' fix with ESPN+

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN+, is finally here. Despite appearances, ESPN+ isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways.
Podcasts

Apple Event speculation, Google Home vs. Echo Show, flying car for sale

On today's episode: Apple announces future announcements and we'll speculate as to what they will be. We'll have a live Google Home Hub vs Amazon Echo Show comparison, including a whispering Alexa. Facebook makes another creepy device…
Mobile

Apple sends out invites for October hardware event, new iPad Pro expected

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch aren't the last devices we'll see from Apple in 2018. There are plenty of rumors about a new iPad coming this year too, and it may share some design similarities with the new phones.
Mobile

Google Maps brings its real-time journey-tracking feature to iPhone

It's been available on Android for a while now, and now Google Maps has brought its real-time journey-tracking feature to iOS. It lets you choose who to share a journey with, and tracking ends automatically when you arrive.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Wearables

A strap for everyone: The best Apple Watch bands you can buy right now

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far and there's something for everyone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

Which new iPhone is the best? iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR

Apple has three new iPhone models to choose from this year, making the choice a little harder than usual. What's the difference between the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, and which is best?
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Computing

Apple’s latest feature ensures MacOS apps are safer than ever

MacOS is mythically known for being more immune to viruses than Windows, but that doesn't mean there isn't room to make it safer. Apple is using an app notarization feature to protect users from downloading malicious apps.
Computing

Will Apple introduce a new MacBook at its Oct. 30 event? Here's everything we know

Whether it's called the MacBook Air or just the MacBook, Apple is highly rumored to introduce a new, affordable laptop in 2018. We discuss reports about upgrading displays, processors, sign-in features, and more.
Computing

Apple CEO demands Bloomberg retract its Chinese surveillance story

Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling on Bloomberg to retract a story alleging that Apple had purchased compromised servers that allowed the Chinese government to spy on Apple. Apple's investigation found no truth to the story.