Apple’s Podcasts app gets playlist creation, iCloud syncing and custom stations

When Apple(s AAPL) broke out Podcasts as a separate iOS app from iTunes last year, a rather glaring omission was the ability to create playlists. Six months later, Apple has added that feature along with several other improvements to the app in an update released Thursday.
Podcasts 1.2 updateNew features in the Podcasts 1.2 update include: playlists synced from iTunes now appear in the app; the ability to create automatically updating stations featuring preferred podcasts; customized stations that are stored in iCloud and automatically synced across your iCloud-enabled devices; a choice to start playing either the newest or oldest episode; and the ability to add any podcast episodes to On the Go playlists.
Apple has also toned down some of the corny design to make it look more like the iTunes app and less like an old tapedeck — perhaps related to Jony Ive’s elevation to head of software and hardware design at Apple — and a playback bug has been fixed.
Apple’s Podcasts app has been lambasted by users since its introduction last fall (see the ratings and reviews in the App Store). The updated design and functionality should be welcome news to those frustrated with the iOS Podcasts experience; that is unless they’ve moved on to any number of third-party podcast apps that have moved in to fill the void.