Fili ($2.99) by Chris Kalafarski is a minimal podcast app that uses gesture controls to keep the interface clutter-free.
Podcasts are great to listen to when you’re completing the housework or commuting. Even Apple has recognized that podcasts deserve their own app.
The default podcast app was launched with a skeuomorphic design that was loved by some and hated by many. It has since been updated, but is nowhere near as flat or minimalistic as Fili.
To find and subscribe to podcasts with Fili, you just search for them. There are no categories or featured podcasts to browse through. Although this does make finding podcasts you already know about fast and easy, it doesn’t help you discover new shows.
When you subscribe to podcasts, they show up on your homepage. Tapping on a show opens up all of the available episodes which can then be downloaded, deleted, or marked as played using gesture controls. When you tap on an episode, it gets added to your playlist. Taping it again makes it start playing.
The playback controls are way too basic in my opinion. You can only play or pause episodes. You can’t speed them up, forward them, set a timer, or use any of the features you enjoy with the other podcast apps.
The gesture controls were great in theory, but some of them conflict with each other. For example, to play or pause, you swipe the screen from left to right. Swiping a podcast episode from left to right downloads or deletes that episode. Because some different actions are triggered with similar gesture controls, you’ll frequently do the wrong thing by accident.
Although I completely understand the idea behind Fili and think that the gesture controls could have worked well, there are just too many missing features and the controls aren’t implemented well enough.
This could have been the Mailbox of podcasting apps, but the whole app feels unfinished and is not nearly as good as it could have been.
You can get Fili for iPhone for $2.99 in the App Store.
If you’re looking for a better podcasting app, my personal favorite is Instacast 3. It has all of the features you like without being too complicated. You can learn about all of the other great podcasting apps in this AppGuide.