The new Apple TV is famously streaming-only but with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad you can still choose between downloading certain types of media to your local device or streaming them straight from the internet.
This pertains mostly to audio and video podcasts either in the iTunes Store app or right inside Safari from a direct, iOS-friendly link, but it struck me when reviewing Apple TV (2010) just how little I actually download any more.
A year ago I subscribed to tons of podcasts in iTunes and synced them over to my iPhone and original Apple TV. Today I sync almost nothing. I haven'd downloaded a podcast in months.
When I see in RSS or Twitter a new episode of a podcast I listen to or watch is available, I just hit the link and start streaming, and iOS 4's background music API is solid enough that I seldom have to worry about downloading it. It mostly -- though not always -- remembers my place when I come back to it the next day or even the next week and just keeps right on streaming.
Sure, it uses 3G data and depending on your plan that might be a deal-breaker but for me, not having to remember to sync content over and being able to pull something up and just listen on demand is killer.
How about you, do you still download or sync podcasts onto your iPhone or iPad?