Another year has come and gone since our last significant release alongside iOS 7, and it’s time for the next major update to Instacast to go live! Instacast 5 builds on the groundwork laid by Instacast 4, and introduces changes that we’ve wanted to introduce for a while, and changes that you’ve been telling us you’d like to see too. This blog post will outline some of those changes – enjoy!
We’ve redesigned Instacast’s media player to make consuming podcasts easier: once you’ve started to play a podcast, swiping up on the podcast artwork will scroll the screen, revealing the chapters and saved bookmarks for the current episode. If you continue to scroll, you’ll be able to see, reorder and edit the Up Next queue. Up Next now lives directly in the media player, meaning that you no longer have to switch to a different screen to manage playback order. If you swipe down on the podcast artwork, you’ll minimise the media player, allowing you to browse Instacast whilst playback continues in the Now Playing bar. You’ll now also be able to pause and resume playback directly from the Now Playing bar, in addition to viewing playback progress. Finally, fans of video podcasts will be pleased to hear that we’ve completely rethought how Instacast handles video playback, and the media buttons no longer obscure the video podcast whilst it’s playing.
One of the most frequent requests we’ve received over the past year is to allow greater customisation of episode lists. Instacast 4 had basic episode lists to collect episodes and Smart Lists, which automatically added podcasts based on certain attributes. Now, we’re giving you the ability to create your own smart lists by selecting which episode attributes you want to be included in your list. For example, you can create lists that only have video podcasts, lists that only display episodes from specific podcasts, or even lists that only include a certain keyword in their title or show notes. Also, entire lists can be copied to Up Next automatically when playback starts, providing that you have the ‘continuous playback’ option enabled. Finally, lists will now sync between your devices using Instacast Cloud.
Instacast for Mac has the ability to search for podcasts based on a certain keyword, and now we’re bringing this feature to Instacast 5 too. The top of the ‘Podcasts’ view displays a search field, and by entering a search term into this field, you’ll be able to view episodes that match your keyword. As mentioned above, you’ll also be able to create lists that automatically collect episodes based on specific keywords.
Instacast 5 now includes Night Mode, which changes the bright white UI to a darker, more subdued tone. This is great when using Instacast in low lighting or darkness. Night Mode can be switched on from Instacast’s settings, or you can simply shake your device to toggle it on or off. We’ve also included the ability to automatically enable Night Mode at sunset and disable it at sunrise. This feature requires location services to be enabled so Instacast can calculate the time of sunset and sunrise in your region, but to preserve battery Instacast will never use location services in the background – only when you open the app.
Instacast 5 also includes a plethora of other enhancements and additions, including the following: the round unplayed icon now indicates playback progress, the download manager has been moved to the sidebar menu, your Instacast Cloud account and membership can now be managed in-app, iOS 8 extensions can now communicate with Instacast, and full UI optimisation is provided for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus screen resolutions.
Instacast 5 and Instacast Cloud sync are free of charge. Search and Night Mode are available via in-app purchase, but Instacast Cloud members get both of these features for free. If you haven’t already got one, we hope you’ll consider supporting Instacast’s ongoing development by taking out an Instacast Cloud membership too.
As always, feel free to get in touch with feedback and suggestions, and thanks for supporting Instacast 5.
October 22nd, 2014 • Permalink
10/22/2014 - Instacast 5 available today
09/16/2014 - Updates on Instacast 5
06/27/2014 - Instacast Cloud Memberships
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01/22/2014 - Instacast 4.2 adds News Mode
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10/23/2013 - New Payment Option: Bitcoin
09/21/2013 - Quick Tips for Instacast 4
09/18/2013 - Instacast 4 Available for iOS 7