First up, Castro now uses Safari View Controller for the in-app browsing of show note links, which is nice for the familiarity of form and function — especially when it comes to access to your favorite share extensions. Next on the iOS 9 checklist — Spotlight Search — swipe right from your home screen and search for a podcast you're subscribed to (displayed by episode) and your Castro results helpfully filter to the top — a tap takes you right to the selected episode.
For iPhone 6s owners, Castro 1.5 brings 3D Touch Quick Actions to the app's icon, and Peek and Pop is supported throughout the app. From the icon, a press allows the user to play or pause playback, set a sleep timer, search for a podcast using the clipboard, or "Lucky Dip" into a random episode. Peeking and Popping in Castro is interesting and nicely done. Peek into subscribed podcasts to see available episodes (push up to unsubscribe). Peek into episodes for show note details (here the "push up" brings a menu with play, delete, and mark listened options — that's pretty cool). Finally, Peek and Pop into your show note links too, with the small annoyance of waiting for web link Peeps to load, a fly in the ointment not unique to Castro.
We mentioned a new pay model— Castro is now totally free to download and use, with optional patronage. If that sounds familiar, well that's because Marco Arment's Overcast is identically financed, which either means Marco's critics were right, and that anybody also making a podcast player app would be forced to follow suit, or maybe, just maybe, Marco was right, and perhaps patronage actually is a viable business model (or YOLO— and at least this is worth trying). Either way, Castro is now hoping to garner more than a few patrons at prices identical to Overcast: $2.99 for 3-months, $5.99 for 6-months, and $11.99 for 12-months. As with Overcast, patronage is entirely optional, the app works identically either way, and there are no other in-app purchases.
Despite being a big Castro fan, at this point even I have to admit Overcast 2.0 is clearly the technically superior app. Smart Speed and Voice Boost — now while streaming podcasts too, significantly better podcast discovery, and the ability to share podcasts via web links — even at specific timestamps — all give Overcast an edge when judging purely by points. But yes, Castro still looks great, heck it even feels great, and it works just fine for me. Sure, I'm a bit jealous of some of Overcast's abilities (sharing and discover more so than Smart Speed and Voice Boost), but hopefully as it's done for me, Castro 1.5 bolsters the patience of fans anxiously awaiting Castro 2 — and nets Supertop enough patrons to speed its development in the process.
Castro requires iOS 9.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.