Apple this week updated the web interface for Podcasts to make it cleaner, more streamlined, and easier to navigate. Users can also now play episodes directly from the website, which is a huge, appreciated change from forcing people to load iTunes to listen.
Episodes now get their own landing page, too, which provides show notes and another opportunity to listen. The web interface still offers users the ability to move over to iTunes, which they’ll want to do to read reviews or access trending charts, but generally, the update makes the rumors of Apple phasing out iTunes seem likely. The episode links use a podcasts.apple.com URL instead of itunes.apple.com, which even further bolsters the iTunes rumors.
Using iTunes to access podcasts is an unpleasant experience currently and feels outdated, and both Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac and Steve Troughton-Smith report that Apple is planning to break iTunes up into separate Music, TV, and Podcasts apps in the next version of macOS. The new apps would reportedly be Marzipan applications, similarly to Apple News on the Mac, and it’s possible that Books would also get an update in addition to Music, TV, and Podcasts. Apart from that, the iTunes branding doesn’t align with Apple Podcasts on iOS, which is how a majority of people listen to shows. Breaking podcasts out as its own Mac app would make sense and keep its branding united under one name. Plus, it’s just a more enjoyable experience to avoid iTunes altogether.