Apple has been testing a new web interface for its podcast directory, according to a report by 9to5Mac. The new interface not only lists individual episodes of a show, but actually lets users listen to shows right within the browser as well.
Previously, Apple had been listing podcasts and episodes on its website, but still required users to open iTunes to listen. The new interface is apparently being tested right now, with some users reporting that they are still being redirected to Apple’s previous implementation. There is no word when the new version will be available to everyone.
News of the web refresh for Apple’s podcast directory comes as the company is apparently looking to launch a dedicated podcast app for its Mac computers, alongside of standalone apps for music, TV shows and movies as well as a revamped books app. These standalone apps could ultimately replace the aging iTunes app, according to 9to5Mac.
Apple has long played a major role in the distribution of podcasts, but has been getting a lot more competition in this space as of late. Spotify has stepped up its own podcast ambitions with the acquisition of Gimlet Media, hoping to lure users away from Apple podcasts with the help of exclusive content.
Pandora has been building out a recommendation engine it calls the Podcast Genome Project. Finally, Apple has also gotten competition from the likes of Google and Amazon, which are making podcasts available through their smart speakers and other assistant-powered devices. In that context, it only makes sense for Apple to lower any barriers of entry, and also stream podcasts directly from the web.