Steve Jobs' announcement at the D3 conference yesterday that the next version of iTunes will contain a podcast directory is interesting.
Version 4.9 of iTunes, due within 60 days, will include the Podcast directory and the subscription manager. Using RSS, iTunes will automatically connect to the Internet and download new audio files—and then transfer them to a connected iPod. Decrying the current state of Podcasting as "really hard to do so far," Jobs said he plans on simplifying the identification and downloading of audio.
While it wasn't hard to guess that iTunes (as well as Windows Media Player) would eventually support podcasting, MarketWatch says:
"Current plans call for podcasts to be free downloads," wrote Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart Inc., and also in the audience. "Users will submit their podcasts and Apple will be hand picking the content it makes available to iTunes users."
That's a little worrying. What will be the selection criteria? Apple is going to become the censor? What a weird thing for them to suggest.
Anyway, this will put pressure on MSFT to get podcasting integrated into WMP quickly. Hopefully this will help to make podcasts more accessible to the mainstream. Now we just need to keep building a stable of compelling content.
Speaking of which, if you've got an idea for a show you'd like to do TPN, shoot me an email.