Podcaster, the application rejected from the App Store that allows you to stream and download podcasts directly to an iPhone or iPod touch, is now being distributed via Cydia, the open-source installer used to place applications on jailbroken iPhones and iPod touches. This follows the developer’s distribution of Podcaster using an ad-hoc certificate—a method that allows you to install applications to a specific device but that is not supported by Apple for commercial sale of applications. Not long after Podcaster’s developer began distributing the application this way, Apple revoked its certificate, thus halting additional sales.
In order to continue distribution, the developer turned to jailbreak, the method for gaining access to the iPhone and first-generation iPod touch so that you can access its operating system and copy data to and from it. (Jailbreaking the 2G iPod touch isn’t currently supported.) In order to jailbreak your device you need a tool such as the iPhone Dev Team’s QuickPwn and PwnageTool. During the jailbreak process, the Cydia installer is placed on the device.
If you’ve already obtained a copy of Podcaster by paying the $10 necessary to get the application and ad-hoc certificate, you can download the update from the developer’s site by entering the e-mail address you used when originally purchasing podcaster. You’ll be taken to a page that includes a download link that delivers the current 1.1.2 version of the program plus a new ad-hoc certificate. Drag both Podcaster and the certificate to the Library entry in iTunes’ Source list and your old copies of the application and certificate will be replaced. Then sync your iPhone or iPod touch to update the application.
If you’re new to Podcaster you can get it through Cydia. To do so, jailbreak your device, launch Cydia, tap Sections, and then tap the Multimedia directory where you’ll find the application listed on the P heading.
Although I could download Podcaster 1.1.1 via Cydia, the application quit shortly after launch. The developer has since updated Podcaster to 1.1.2 and this version installed and launched properly.
Once launched you’re allowed to use Podcaster as a free trial for 14-days. If you wish to continue using it after that, you must pay $5 for the application, which you can purchase via the Next Day Off site. Your registration code allows you to use Podcaster on up to three devices.
The latest version of Podcaster brings bug fixes as well as a workaround for podcasts that won’t play. You now have the option to choose between the iPhone or iPod touch’s QuickTime Media Player or the Podcaster Player. If one can’t handle a podcast, the other should be able to.
You’ll also find a Play in Safari option within a podcast’s Now Playing screen. Tap it and Safari opens, displaying the podcast episode on the Podcaster.fm site (the original web app version of Podcaster). Not all podcasts from Podcaster.fm will play on the iPhone or iPod touch, however, as not all are compatible with the device’s QuickTime components.