iPhone OS 3.0: The new podcast controls

Minor tweaks like 30-second rewind, e-mail sharing, and adjustable scrub speeds help make podcasts (and audiobooks) a lot more enjoyable on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

You can keep your copy/paste, MMS, and tethering--for me, the best thing about iPhone OS 3.0 is the new and improved podcast controls (which are also available in audiobooks). Here's the rundown:

    Adjustable scrub speeds make it much easier to jump to specific spot in a podcast or audiobook.
  • Adjustable scrub speed If you've ever tried to jump forward or back in a podcast (meaning dragging the scrubber across the timeline), you know it's virtually impossible to hit the spot you want. OS 3.0 fine-tunes the scrub controls: tap and hold the position marker, then slowly drag your finger down to access different scrub speeds: high-speed, half-speed, quarter-speed, and finally "fine." Now you can drag the marker left and right to hit the spot you want. It sounds a little tricky, but it's immediately intuitive once you try it.
  • 30-second rewind Taking a page from TiVo, the new 30-second rewind button instantly jumps back half a minute to replay something you missed.
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    iPhone OS 3.0 adds some handy new features for podcast and audiobook listeners.
  • E-mail sharing A couple of months ago, This American Life (best podcast ever) did a killer show called "Bad Bank." While listening, I remember thinking I had to share it with friends and family. Too bad I didn't have OS 3.0 at the time: the new e-mail icon makes it a snap to send a podcast's iTunes link to one or more recipients.
  • Playback speed selector Apple liberated this handy setting from the Settings menu. Just tap the icon to cycle between half-speed, normal, and 2x playback.

Good stuff, no? As someone who listens to equal amounts of podcasts and music, I'm loving these little tweaks.

What about you? What iPod-oriented OS 3.0 features are you enjoying? (If you're not sure what others are in there, check out Donald Bell's overview of iPod updates .)

 

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