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Apple adds Siri support to its Podcasts app

Podcasts users will find new features and tweaks in both the iOS and iTunes editions.

Apple's latest update to its Podcasts app. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

iPhone and iPad users can now ask Siri to play their favorite podcasts thanks to the latest update to Apple's Podcasts app.

Rolled out on Thursday, version 2.1 of Podcasts now responds directly to Siri. You can ask Siri to play all of your podcasts one after another by saying "Play podcasts." Or you can play a specific podcast by including the station or episode name, such as "Play Relaxation Meditation podcast."

The Podcasts app also now integrates with Apple's CarPlay and lets you share links via AirDrop. Further, you can immediately play any station from the stations list by tapping on the Play button.

What else is new with Podcasts? Apple has tried to enhance the way you browse and manage individual episodes.

A new Unplayed tab shows you all podcast episodes that you have yet to play. A new Feed tab displays episodes ready to be downloaded or streamed. You can save episodes to listen to them offline and tell the app to automatically delete episodes after you have played them. Finally, you can tap on links in a podcast description to open them in Safari.

The update throws in the usual bug fixes as well. One fix promises to resolve playback issues after syncing with iTunes and another improves stability while downloading podcasts.

Apple has also tweaked the Podcast feature in iTunes courtesy of the latest update -- iTunes 11.2. The improvements mimic those in the mobile app, namely the ability to better browse and manage your podcast episodes.

To sync your podcasts between your computer and iPhone or iPad, Apple recommends that you update to iTunes 11.2 if you've already installed the latest version of the Podcasts app.