Castro is a brand new podcasting app for the iPhone (available in the App Store for $2.99). It’s not an update to an existing podcast client. It’s a new app. It doesn’t have any legacy to anchor it down because it really is a fresh start.
In July 2011, a federal jury in Texas awarded “patent licensing company” Personal Audio LLC $8 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The jury found Apple infringed two valid patents related to downloadable playlists with its iOS devices as far back as the original iPod. One covered an “audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller,” while the other covered an “audio program distribution and playback system.” 9to5Mac has now learned Personal Audio LLC is attempting to target content creators directly, starting with a new patent infringement case in Texas against one of iTunes biggest podcasters, Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting.
If the outcome of the case is anything like Personal Audio’s previous cases, it could have a major impact on podcasters and other content creators on iTunes and elsewhere. Personal Audio also sued and entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Archos, Coby, RIM, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola related to its downloadable playlist patents and others.
The new patent, issued just last year on Feb. 7, 2012, is quite broad and describes a “System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence.” Personal Audio is also suing the popular Howstuffworks.com series, which like Ace Broadcasting, is a large podcasting presence on iTunes and across the web…
Much like Apple did when introducing its standalone iTunes U app at its education event last January, it is also planning to launch a standalone app for podcasts. A report from AllThingsD first mentioned Apple’s plans to include the app in iOS 6 this fall. We also heard that the app is in the works for a release with the final version of iOS 6.
People familiar with Apple’s plans tell me that when its new iOS 6 software becomes widely available this fall, podcasts will have their own app, where users will be able to discover, download and play them on mobile devices. Users who access iTunes via laptop and desktop machines will still find them in that version of iTunes, though.
Apart from the podcast app that AllThingsD noted would allow users to “discover, download and play” on iOS devices, we heard separately that Apple is working on podcast-producing technology, perhaps for inclusion into this app.
As part of its process of breaking the different content categories into standalone apps, many noticed with iOS 6 that Apple removed the Podcasts, Audiobooks, and iTunes U sections from the iTunes app.