When Arment launched Instapaper in 2007, it was a web app. Over time, to compete it had to become more complicated and more involved. Instapaper added a text parser, an iPhone app, a Kindle delivery option, an Android app among countless other features.
Iteratively, each version developed into the monstrous offering available today. However, for a prospective newcomer, the expectations to be even remotely competitive in a 1.0 version are extremely daunting in terms of time and money. The risks involved in trying to enter that space are massive.
Podcast apps are now going down the same path. The expectation is that you can’t just be an exceptional app for the iPhone, you have to be an exceptional service. Indie developers are going to struggle; dealing with sync alone is hard enough.