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Why can't Apple get podcasts right?

I am very glad that Apple decided to embrace podcasts all those years ago (2006 was it?), but it still feels like they are the ugly stepchild that gets no love. Why?

All I want is to have a playlist that is always, automatically populated with all the podcast episodes I subscribe to and to which I have not yet listened. Since a lot of what I listen to is news, I'd like to hear the oldest episodes first so I can build up an understanding chronologically. The problems in the latest version include:

  • Many episodes frequently fail to download. No reason given.

  • Episodes that did not download still show up in playlists and the app throws a halting error when it reaches one, forcing me to manually move to the next episode. This is awful when I'm running.

  • We have an option to play the most recent episode first or manual — but nothing else! How does this make any sense?

  • When previous versions of the podcast app were crappy, at least I could revert to using my smart playlists, but Apple has decided that podcasts should no longer appear on the Music app. Not sure why not.

  • Not sure this is related, but ever since I've started using the podcast app with RunKeeper, the latter's audio cues are erratic. This could just be an iOS 7 thing or an "I've got an old device" thing — not really sure.

Apple, please give the app some love and test it in real-world scenarios.