New for Podcasts in iOS 11: Apple is bringing a handful of new podcasts features to iOS 11, both for users and creators. The new features were highlighted during a developer session on Friday and include a redesign to the Podcasts design, updates to the Podcasts spec, and more…

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Apple opened its podcasts session at WWDC with some stats on its current Podcasts offering. The company touted that it currently houses 400,000 podcasts with 14,000,000 total episodes. Those shows have been downloaded some 10 million times:

  • 400,000 podcasts
  • 14,000,000 episodes
  • 155 countries for distribution and submission
  • 10 million episode consumption

Headlining the new Podcasts app with iOS 11 is an interface redesign. While the overall idea of the app remains the same, Apple is making some tweaks to the design to improve the user experience.

There are four new tabs along the bottom of the interface: Listen Now, Library, Browse, and Search.

The new Listen Now tab is an upgrade from the previous Unplayed screen and includes support for resuming episodes, quickly finding the next episode of your favorite shows, and more. The Library tab is home to all of the podcasts you subscribe to, including saved episodes, downloaded episodes, and recently added episodes.

On a podcast’s dedicated page, you can quickly find all episodes and top episodes, while each episode page offers description and length information.

Finally, there’s the Browse tab. This tab is similar to the Browse interface in Apple Music, showing things such as top charts, what’s new, categories, and more.

Apple is also introducing a handful of changes to the podcast spec with iOS 11, which will come in handy for content creators. Currently with Podcasts in iOS 10, shows are listed with the last episode first and season and episode information in the title. This will all change with iOS 11, though thanks to two new podcast types: episodic and serial.

With the latest podcast spec, creators will have the ability to create seasons to better manage their show. Creators can choose how episodes are ordered and recommended, while episode number and season information will no longer be presented in the episode title. Instead, Apple will break each podcast down by season and ask creators to include new metadata for tracking episode number.

Currently, when users subscribe to a new podcast, they get the most recent episode downloaded to their library. However, with iOS 11, they will get the full most current season downloaded.

Episodic:

  • Latest episode recommended first
  • Stand-alone episodes
  • New subscribers start receive the latest episode Supports seasons, with newest episode at top

Serial:

  • Episodes are presented and recommended oldest-to-newest
  • Great for narrative and storytelling content Support for multiple seasons
  • New subscribers will receive the first episode in their Library, or the current season if using seasons

There’s also new episode types: full, trailer, and bonus content.

Last but not least, Apple is introducing Podcast Analytics. This feature will allow podcasters to learn more about their listeners. For instance, analytics information will include the total hours listened to a specific episode, the average minutes per listener, the abandonment point, and average completion rate. Podcast Analytics will also show if listeners are skipping over ads or not.

Apple touts iOS 11’s new Podcasts app as “the biggest update” to Podcasts since its release. Watch the full session here.


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