MAJOR MILESTONE: Apple has celebrated a billion podcast subscriptions.
MAJOR MILESTONE: Apple has celebrated a billion podcast subscriptions. David Stuart

Apple celebrates 1 billion podcast subscriptions

LAUNCHED in summer 2005 on iTunes, Apple's podcasts have now racked up 1 billion subscriptions with the store offering around 8 million episodes from 250,000 different podcasts in more than 100 languages.

"From comedy to hard news to sports to innovative educational content and so much more, podcasting has transformed the global media landscape," said Apple in an official statement.

Although the company did not invent the format, the term 'podcast' did stem from 'iPod', and Apple have always seen the potential of the medium as a way to introduce their hardware to new customers.

Apple employs editorial staff to curate the podcast section of iTunes and following the announcement of their latest milestone they're celebrating by highlighting "some of the most popular podcasts of all time, as well as a collection of captivating new shows."

The lists are country specific withe UK's 'classics' including Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4; the Science Weekly podcast from the Guardian; Radio 4's Desert Island Discs; Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's film show; and the Bugle - the comedy podcast from John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman.

'New and Noteworthy' shows include The Shed from the National Theatre, 'celebrating new theatre that is adventures, ambitious and unexpected'; the History Hour from the BBC World Service; and James O'Brien's Msystery Hour - a weekly exploration of 'why' questions from LBC (sample episodes include 'Why do pigeons nod their heads when they walk?' and 'What's better for you, bread or toast?'). The full list of curated podcasts can be seen in iTunes.

Although 1 billion subscriptions is certainly impressive, it's nothing compared to Apple's recently celebrated App Store statistics - the company hit 50 billion app downloads in May this year.