Apple has released iTunes 4.9. The latest version of the popular jukebox software now includes the podcasting features as promised by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at D: All Things Digital last month.

Apple says: “With iTunes 4.9, you can now browse and subscribe to podcasts from within the iTunes Music Store. Podcasts are frequently updated radio-style shows downloadable over the Internet. You can also transfer podcasts to iPod, for listening on the go."

While Jobs describes podcasting as the Wayne's World of Radio he also believes that it is the "hottest thing going in radio, hotter than anything else in radio".

Announcing the latest update Jobs said: "Apple is taking Podcasting mainstream by building it right into iTunes. Podcasting is the next generation of radio, and users can now subscribe to over 3,000 free Podcasts and have each new episode automatically delivered over the Internet to their computer and iPod."

The new Podcast Directory in iTunes 4.9 features over 3,000 free audio programs, making it one of the largest Podcast directories in the world, claims Apple.

iTunes enables anyone to quickly and easily find and subscribe to their favorite Podcasts so that every time there's a new episode, it's automatically downloaded to their Mac or PC and Auto-Synced to their iPod, says Apple.

iTunes will manage multiple Podcast subscriptions, displaying them by episode and date. All new iPods will offer an easy to use Podcast menu, including bookmarking within a Podcast and the ability to display color Podcast artwork.