Apple could score major points if they moved Podcasting “to the cloud” so people could “cut the cord” of synchronization to their iPods. They haven't so people keep coming up with great “podcastching” apps for phone and iPad. A recent article was singing the praises of the Downcast app.
In use, Downcast has almost every feature from my previous favorite, Podcaster, but without the annoyances. First, the interface is way, way cleaner and easier to use. Second, it doesn’t refuse to download episodes of the excellent VFX Show. And third, it doesn’t have tiny play/pause buttons that cause you to skip a track instead of just pausing it.
What it does have is automatic downloading (suck it, Instacast), the ability to not have the next episode auto play, a sleep timer, AirPlay support for both video and audio and — here’s the big one — gestures.
Gestures let you control playback without having to hunt down a tiny on-screen button. To play/pause, you double-tap with one finger. Swipe left or right with two fingers to skip 30 seconds back and forward, and swipe up and down to mark a podcast as listened or unlistened.
As I don't have an iPhone, I can't speak first hand. If you're interested in adding it to your iPhone or iPad use the links below. I believe we will see more and more (and more) apps coming to phones and tablets to make consuming podcasts super easy.