I am a big fan of podcasts, especially educational podcasts. The iPhone is a great tool for listening to podcasts, except for one little problem. While you can subscribe to podcasts in iTunes, to take advantage of the automatic downloading you have to constantly sync your iPhone (or iPod Touch) to iTunes. I'd rather have the latest podcasts pushed directly to my iPhone.
Unfortunately, that's not what happens with iTunes on the iPhone.
Enter a free (as of this post) app called AudioPress. With this application on your iPhone you can now subscribe to podcasts and have them streamed to your iPhone. You can create playlists to group podcasts together. I only have one playlist with all my podcasts, which is perfect. Now all of my podcasts are queued up in one place and when one finishes the next one starts right after it.
Being able to listen to podcasts without having to remember to download the latest one (or without having to sync the iPhone to my computer) is AWESOME.
What are the downsides? Not too many, at least for me.
First, the podcasts are streamed and not stored locally on the iPhone. This is not a problem because the streaming works over 3G. If I were flying on a plane then it'd be a problem. The 3G streaming works great, and the WiFi streaming obviously works well too. I don't want my iPhone's hard drive cluttered with podcasts, especially after I've already heard them. So, this first 'downside' really isn't a downside at all as far as I'm concerned.
Second, there are short commercials (public service announcements so far) that play in between the podcasts. Given the huge benefit of having all my podcasts queued up and ready to go, I don't care about the commercials. I don't even notice them.
What about if you stop halfway through a podcast and do something else? Does it remember where you were? Yes, absolutely. And the iPhone headphone's command button works to pause the podcast, or even advance to the next one if you double click it.
Not all podcasts that are available through iTunes are available for the AudioPress app, but all of the main ones I listen to regularly are available. So check out AudioPress. Did I mention it's free?