Second Chance for First Impressions: Castro’s 1.1 update

Supertop’s gorgeous podcast app, Castro, was updated to version 1.1 Today. Among the release-note highlights are:

  • An actual settings menu within the app.
  • Continuous play options
  • UI enhancements, and some slick new animations
  • A new playback speed option, with some impressive pitch-compensation

Check out Supertop’s blog for the complete rundown of new features, changes, and bug fixes.

I was super impressed by Castro’s design[1] when Supertop released it at the end of last year. Unfortunately, my monster list of subscriptions, and the lack of any way to manege them all, ended up drawing me back to Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Casts. Three months after Castro’s last update most of my complaints about the app sill haven’t been addressed. It still doesn’t have sync (or an iPad app), there’s no way to filter or group specific feeds together, and there are no discovery features to speak of. I decided to check out the update anyways, and was suprised to find Castro to be much more appealing than I remembered. This, I realized, was less to do with any update or shiny new feature than it was a shift in the way I consume content.

In the time since I last used Castro, Jared Sinclair released Unread, and wrote a blog post encouraging less sources and closer reading. Castro’s lack of features has an effect similar to Unread. Without filtering options the episode list can quickly become overwhelmingly cluttered, all but requiring users of the app to prune their list of subscribed podcasts to a manageable number.

As of right now, I have nearly 500 unplayed podcasts, and several feeds I’ve only listened to once or twice. I’ll never get around to listening to each one, and even if I did, there’s no way I would stay caught up. There comes a point where unplayed and unread notifications stop being exciting and end up just being stressful. I’m pretty sure I passed that point a long time ago. Because of this, going back to Castro feels like a breath of fresh air. It’s strangely liberating when you give up on trying to read, listen, or watch everything out there. I’m sincearly looking foreward careing about when a new episode comes out, instead of worrying about catching up on missed weeks.

Limitations like the ones found in Castro appeal to a specific kind of person, making it hard to recomend to a wide audience. Only a few months ago I had decided that it wasn’t for me. Now, however, I’m looking foreward to playing around with Castro’s new update[2] and working on trimming my podcast subscriptions like I did my RSS feeds. Whether I stick with it or not, it will be good to get rid of destractions so I can enjoy my favorite content creators more fully.

Castro is $3.99 on the Appstore

  1. The icon alone is one of my favorite in the Appstore.  ↩

  2. I plan on writing a longer review after I spend some time with the new update.  ↩