Everyone says that iTunes is pulling podcasting out of iTunes. Well that's probably good as Apple tried to make iTunes all things to all people. It became bloated. I would've cancelled Ping (or whatever their facebook/twitter wanna be thing was).
This might be a mistake for Apple Because…
Every podcaster on the planet seems ot be telling their audience to go to iTunes and leave a review. We are driving traffic to iTunes. What happens when iTunes becomes a small piece of the pie? Is there going to be advertisements in the new app?
This might hurt Podcasters Because…
People might do a search for a movie, and find a podcast. People might do a search for an author, and find the podcast where they were interviewed.
While adding podcasting to iTunes gave Podcasting a giant boost back in 2005. It made it easy to subscribe. Our audience was different then. They didn't understand subscribing to a blog let alone a podcast. While there are still people who say, “Have I ever listener to a pod-what?” I think then general population has grown in understanding RSS. My phone makes it super easy to subscribe to a podcast. In my BeyondPod app I search for the podcast title, it finds it, I click subscribe.
Now we have services like stitcher that take the pain of wiating for the dowloads to finish so you can sync your iPod and get to work.
When you troubleshoot a system, you have to break it down to its key components. When we isolate podcasting and iTunes we will be able to see what effect each had on each other. It's an experiment that could be risky. Any time you move people from one system to another, it's risky. Humans are not a big fan of change. In the end this means we will be able to determine if iTunes needed podcasting, or if Podcasting needs iTunes. Can they thrive (yes) without each other?
My hope is Apple will dedicate more resources to podcasting. In theory the people using the podcasting app are looking for podcasts. It sounds like there is decent cross promotion and discovery built in, so that is a win as well. The future will tell.