With the iPhone app you have a very easy way to immediately jump to FIR episodes and start listening. When you go into one of the episodes you have a "Play Podcast" link when loads the iPhone's QuickTime player and starts playing the episode for you. You can also follow the "Web Link" to view the page out on the FIR site (where you could see comments). There's also a nice "Categories" screen that lets you see the various different categories of FIR podcasts.
If you create an "account" you can then apparently mark episodes as "favorites", comment on episodes and rate episodes. My one point of feedback I'll be passing along to Shel and Neville is that it's not entirely clear to me where I am creating this account. Is it on the service of the vendor behind this app? (GenWi, the company behind iSites.us) Admittedly I'm a bit more paranoid than the average user (blame my security background), but I'd like to know a bit more about who is going to have my data before I sign up.
Speaking of iSites, they are the iPhone application vendor Shel and Neville used for this app. It's admittedly very cool... for just $25 you can get your own iPhone app created.
Now, the only caveat is that for that $25 one-time fee, you are stuck with the in-application advertising that you see in the image to the left and over which you have no control. iSites does have a $99/year pricing plan that gives you control over ads and presumably they are expecting that a certain number of folks will choose that plan to lose the ads. (I would.)
I obviously just started using the app and I'll be interested to see how using it compares to using the regular "iPod" functionality built into my iPhone. This app has the advantage that you can very quickly get to FIR podcasts and be able to see what is there. Whenever you launch the app it seems to check for the most recent episodes so you are always up to date.
On the other hand, in the "iPod" app on my iPhone I do have to manually initiate the "Get more episodes" process to download new episodes. However, one advantage to the iPod app is that I get to see how far I have listened to any given FIR episode - and it retains that info so with one glance I can see which episodes I still need to listen to and how much more I have of each episode. This is a great advantage when your time to listen to podcasts is rather fragmented.
Regardless, I think it's rather cool for Shel and Neville to now have an iPhone (and Android) app. If you are an FIR listener (or are interested in the intersection of social media, technology, PR and communications), do check out the app and try it out. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts. What do you think of it? Do you see yourself using it versus the iPod app to listen to FIR?
P.S. In full disclosure... if you are not aware, I am a weekly correspondent into FIR, usually on Thursdays, and so I am affiliated with the podcast.