OK. The blogosphere is all breathless over this one. Steven P. announced at the D "conference" that the next version of iTunes will include a helping of podcasty goodness. (Engadget with the news, and Phil Torrone dishes the dirt).
There are rumours that only "podcast feeds" that have been vetted by Apple will be included (similar to the Radio section of the iTunes library, possibly including some paid/subscription content). If that's the case, then iTunes Podcasting is essentially dead in the water.
The only sane way (i.e., the first thing that popped into my head, so of course it's the "right" way...) to get the feeds would be to have iTunes use Safari 2.0's "All RSS Feeds" Collection, and sniffing all (or a marked subset?) for enclosures. Perhaps each "RSS Feed" could have a setting like "automatically suck down podcasts via iTunes" or something creative.
If they want to provide a directory in iTunes to get newbies started, that's cool (and all of the podcasting clients do it currently - it's a good idea). But, the feeds must be controllable/configurable by the user. My feeds are likely not Apple's feeds.
The last thing we need is a duplication of the restricted "broadcast media" format, where only the highest part of the long tail gets heard. Podcasting (and individually managed subscriptions) lets the rest of the crowd be heard, no matter how small their audience. Broadcasting by BigCo™ is replaced by nanocasting by/to individuals.
Also, having to vet a "Podcast Feed" through Apple to get listed will prevent ad-hoc podcasting. The person that occasionally includes an enclosure (*ahem*) but is otherwise not a "Podcaster". I totally fit into that category. My less-than-regular podcasts wouldn't warrant my listing in a Podcast Directory (unless I was editing said directory ;-) ), but some poor misguided soul may still want to download any enclosures I send out there...