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Apple to give podcasts their own app in iOS 6, report says

Apple's working on a standalone application to find, fetch, and listen to podcasts on iOS devices, according to a new report.

Apple took the wraps off most of the major iOS 6 features at its annual developers conference this week, but there may be one more thing it didn't show off.

According to All Things Digital, Apple's cooking up a standalone app for podcasts. Okay, so that may not be as sexy as 3D maps or Siri for iPads, but it's noteworthy given that Apple currently serves up podcasts within its iTunes app, then has users listen to them in a separate app called Music.

The report suggests that Apple plans on bundling those two things together in one single app for simplicity's sake.

In case you didn't know, podcasts are pre-recorded audio shows of varying genres that users can subscribe to and listen to even when offline. Apple jumped on the podcast bandwagon in mid-2005, promising to take the medium "mainstream by building everything users need to discover, subscribe, manage and listen" into what was then version 4.9 of iTunes.

Even with that push, the feature got off to a rocky start on the iPhone more than a decade later. Users needed to first download podcasts to their computer before syncing them over, and there was no way to subscribe. Apple then rejected an app called Podcaster, which offered streaming and downloading of podcasts, saying it duplicated functionality offered within iTunes. iOS 2.2, then known simply as iPhone software, added the option to procure episodes right from the device.

As for the timing of such a release, Apple typically rolls out new iPods, and iTunes software in the fall at its annual music event. Last year that event was replaced with the debut of the iPhone 4S.