In September Apple denied Podcaster access to the App Store because it was in the process of adding Over The Air (OTA) podcast downloads to the bundled iPod application. Earlier in the week Apple exposed the user interface for OTA podcasts in iPhone 2.2 beta 2 – but the feature wasn't working.
Today Schimanke.com posted screenshots from iPhone 2.2 indicating that Apple has enabled OTA podcasts in the latest developer build.
The new iTunes Store screenshots confirm that Apple will be delivering over-the-air downloads for both video and audio podcasts. According to Schimanke, podcast downloads will be limited to episodes less than 10MB in size when using the cellular network....The screenshots also show off the new App Store category view with icons embedded.
There's no word on when iPhone 2.2 firmware will be released to the great unwashed masses. I originally thought that Apple might hold it for Macworld Expo in January 2009, but it now appears that the update is further along than originally thought.
Two points about this:
1. Apple needs to speed up these iPhone updates a little more. Many of 2.2's features (i.e. Street view) are already released on other phone platforms (i.e. Android). Apple has more competition than ever and can quickly lose their head start in the touchscreen smartphone segment if they don't move quickly. Apple can't afford to get complacent and rest on its iPhone laurels. Apple need to be scrappy, tough and fight like the underdog it is. Sometimes its almost like the entire iPhone team was given an extended vacation after Jobs announced that Apple had outsold RIM last quarter.
I wouldn't mind if Apple released an iPhone software patch every month. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Apple would get an overwhelming response to a "nightly build" type of alpha or beta testing software program for the iPhone. I guess they either don't want external testing or they don't have a system in place to track it.
2. Copy and Paste. This feature has now become the huge pink elephant in the room. Apple has refused to identify the importance of this feature besides a simple statement to the effect of "we're working on it." Apple needs to put all other iPhone software development on hold and focus the team on releasing copy and paste. Not having it is becoming a credibility problem for Apple.