When a company announces it’s going to start charging for something that’s always been free, it better make sure everything’s working great. Unbelievably, that’s what Apple tried to do but failed. Apple announced last month that it would be changing the Podcasts app with iOS 14.5 and that it would start offering a subscription service with premium podcasts. After the update, the app wasn’t working for many. Apple indicates it fixed the app issues, but did it harm its chances for success with the Podcasts subscriptions?
Apple Podcasts App Issues
Apple released the iOS 14.5 update on April 26. It didn’t take long before users began complaining of problems. For the most part, users have been complaining that they are missing some podcast episodes. New episodes sometimes don’t show up for days. There were also other aspects of the app not working, such as the podcasts skipping, the wrong timestamp, and scrolling not working.
It’s not completely out of line, as updates sometimes bring difficulties like that. However, this is about a week after Apple announced a new subscription plan for podcasts, something that has traditionally been free.
Apple did admit the Podcasts app was experiencing difficulties. “Users are experiencing a problem with this service,” Apple stated. “We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available.” It added that the difficulties had begun on April 29 and that not all users were affected.
System Status Shows It’s Fixed
Apple has not announced that it has fixed the app; however, it did indicate on its system status page that it was fixed. I’ll note, though, that it’s not working for me. I’m not getting the new podcasts that I should. It doesn’t look like this update will be successful in bringing me back to the Apple Podcasts app from a third-party app.
This comes up at an unfortunate time for Apple. Not only is it planning on releasing a subscription service, but there is incredible competition in this space.
Spotify bought Megaphone, a podcast publishing and advertising company last fall, instantly giving Apple competition. Furthering this, shortly after Apple announced its upcoming subscription plan, Facebook added a Spotify miniplayer within the Facebook app. Facebook is also adding a slew of other social audio features.
There is, of course, also a slew of third-party podcasts app. Apple isn’t the only player in the game. This all raises the question of how it will succeed after these missteps.
Read about one of those third-party apps with our review of Audials Play.