Instacast 4 ($4.99) by Vemedio is now available for iPhone and iPad. The widely renowned podcatcher has received its third major update, with this one being the most dramatic. While Instacast’s features have not changed very much, the user interface of the app has been completely rethought for iOS 7. This is more than a fresh coat of paint, folks. It’s a completely new app.
If you’re not familiar with the previous versions of Instacast, I recommend checking out Christine’s review of Instacast 3. This will give you a better idea of how the app used to work, and allow you to note the differences in the update.
After updating the app, Instacast 4′s beautiful new icon will show up on your home screen. After tapping on it, you will be presented with a brand new interface. Gone is all the chrome of previous versions, which has been replaced with the clean white UI elements of iOS 7. The tab bar along the top has been removed, being replaced by a side menu that can be accessed by tapping the “hamburger” button at the top left.
On the bright side, some areas of the app like the Now Playing screen have been reworked to make controls more accessible. However, this comes at a cost for those with older devices. Although I’m really excited to get an iPhone 5s as soon as I can find one, I can’t help but to feel bad for iPhone 4 and 4s users that have to look at Instacast 4′s Now Playing screen. Cutting off album artwork is not acceptable, especially in the ugly fashion that Instacast 4 does. Shrink it, hide it, or do anything else that will prevent it from being cut off, but don’t mangle the poor thing.
Speaking of what’s playing, Instacast 4 includes a new feature called “Up Next,” which works exactly like the feature found in iTunes 11 with the same name. To generate your own queue of what you would like to play next, simply tap and hold on an episode, and then choose to add to the beginning or end of the list.
Another notable feature that has been added in Instacast 4 is the ability to utilize iOS 7′s Background App Refresh functionality. Once enabled in the Settings app (it is by default), Instacast will be able to automatically download new episodes in the background based on when you’re least likely to notice.
While there are a few quirks with Instacast 4 that I’m not particularly fond of, I am still pleased with the update overall. I’m so glad that all of my favorite apps are being updated for iOS 7 so quickly, and Instacast 4 is not an exception. The best part is that all who own Instacast 3 are getting this update for free. For those who haven’t purchased Instacast, it can be found as a universal download in the App Store for $4.99.