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Apple giving podcasts their own app in iOS 6

It looks like podcasts are being shunted out of iTunes to their own app.

Apple showed off the new version of iTunes to developers this week at WWDC in California, but podcasts were conspicuous by their absence. So what's the deal?

Well Apple is making a dedicated app for podcasts, according to AllThingsD. The report references people familiar with Apple's plans. So when iOS 6 launches this autumn podcasts will have their own app, letting you find, download and play them on your mobile or tablet.

If you're using a desktop or laptop, however, podcasts will still be present and correct in iTunes. So it sounds like this is an iOS 6 instigation only.

It's not the first time Apple has made such a move: last year it broke the iTunes player app into separate video and music versions. When iBooks launched at the same time as the iPad in 2010, the reader came as a separate app. It also made iTunes U -- a series of lectures and courses that let you get your learning on -- a separate app too, although for now at least you can still get to your downloads via iTunes on a mobile.

It seems like Apple is trying to de-clutter iTunes somewhat. It does seem strange doing so only on iOS 6 and not on OS X though. Maybe the more limited processing power of iOS devices means iTunes as it is runs sluggishly on said gadgets. I know an older iPod Touch crawls to a halt when you install iOS 5.

Podcasts are still a hugely popular category, though they may not be mentioned as often as in 2007, when it seemed everyone and his dog had one. (You can check out our latest ruminations on the week's news here.) Anything that helps iTunes run more effectively is ok in my book. Let's face it, with all its bugs, iTunes needs a serious spring clean.

What do you reckon? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.