While listening to podcasts as I was walking to the train station one day, I noticed the podcasts sounded really slow. Thinking something was wrong, I tinkered around with it until I discovered that I had inadvertently pressed a button that slows down the speed of podcasts to 1/2x.
This feature seems to have been originally designed in mind for going the other way—you can also speed it up to 2x—for people who wanted to get through podcasts or audio books more quickly (it unfortunately does not work with songs).
But they threw in the 1/2x speed as well, and that's good news for us language learners. If there's something in a podcast or that you don't quite get on the first pass, you can back it up a bit and slow it down to half speed, or if you're just getting started in your target language, perhaps you'll want to listen to everything at half speed.
How to do it, after the jump.
Just start playing your podcast on your iPhone, and it should look like the image below. What you're interested in is that little 1X button in the top right. Press it once, and you'll get double speed, but press it again and you get half speed.
The one thing I find curious about all this is that you don't seem to be able to do the same thing easily in iTunes. If you know of an easy way to do it in iTunes, drop a line in the comments below.
P.S. The Japanese-language podcast seen in the image above is Yoichi Ito's Business Trends.