Another update. I did duplicate the same thing. Played a few podcasts. Few minutes later they were synced exactly the same. I have wifi sync turned off and never re-connected it by USB. You may be on to something with homesharing but I'm certain I'm playing a local copy not a streamed copy. Will keep playing around with it.
Dartiesdad: Nope, I actually turned off the automatic downloads of the podcasts.
One thing I'm not sure if this matters...I recently decided I hated the podcast application and deleted it choosing instead to listen to podcasts through the music application and maange the downloads through USB connection. Not sure if that impacts anything.
ONe of my podcasts is also not available through itunes. It is jerry-rigged with a third party app forcing it to download through itunes. I've tested it again tonight and my podcasts played on my latest iphone (whether available through itunes or the one I jerry-rigged) both update within a few minutes in itunes even when I don't connect by USB.
I'm thinking this has something to do with icloud and maybe the podcasts being in the music folder?
I just don't know.
I don't think it's working with my ipod touch that is on ios 5.1.1
One more update.
Although I have my music in the cloud/itunes match, I currently have this feature turned off on all of my ios devices. So my theory may not hold.
I notice that I homesharing is turned on/logged in under my iphone but not under my ipod touch. But I'm thinking it's always been that way.
I sync wirelessly with the ipod touch (it's always in my car in the garage and syncs wirelessly).
Just an update on this. It's definitely updating the podcasts almost immediately. I just wish I knew how this was driven. I have turned off home sharing on the iphone, turned off the icloud docs/data area and it still updates. I've turned itunes match off as well.
Nice feature but I've been trying to figure out why my phone drains so fast and I wonder if this is one reason. I've done all the usual things and read all the threads about battery drain but I can't help but wonder if an immediate syncing is somehow partly to blame.