Apple Drops Skeumorphism Reel-to-Reel in Podcast App Update

Smell that? That's the fruits of Jonny Ive ripening on the Apple tree. More specifically, Apple updated its Podcasts app for iPhone and iPad to version 1.2, and the update drops the reel-to-reel skeuomorphic interface for podcast playback.

Skeuomorphism is defined as the invocation of "an object or feature which imitates the design of a similar artifact in another material." This includes things like presenting a calendar with a leather cover and stitching in iCal and using a reel-to-reel player to handle podcast playback.

When Apple CEO Tim Cook terminated Scott Forstall and put Sir Jonathan Ive in charge of iOS interface design, many expected Apple to leave skeuomorphism behind. The Podcasts update is one of the first examples of that actually coming to fruition.

Here's what it used to look like:

Old Podcasts App Playback Screen

The Old Reel-to-Reel Podcast Playback Screen (for iPhone)

And here's what it looks like now. Note the handsome men in The Apple Context Machine's cover art:

The New Podcasts App Playback Screen

Whither the Reel-to-Reel? It's Gone!

  • Here are the full patch notes for the update:
  • Create custom stations of your favorite podcasts that update automatically with new episodes
  • Choose whether your stations begin playing with the newest or oldest unplayed episode
  • Your stations are stored in iCloud and kept up-to-date on all of your devices
  • Create an On-The-Go playlist with your own list of episodes
  • Playlists synced from iTunes now appear in the Podcasts app
  • The Now Playing view has been redesigned with easier to use playback controls
  • Addressed an issue with resuming playback when returning to the app
  • Additional performance and stability improvements

Podcasts is a free download from the App Store. The new version is available now.