Apple News Plus’ new Audio tab for audio stories in iOS 13.5.5 beta

Apple News Plus’ new Audio tab for audio stories in iOS 13.5.5 beta

The latest iOS 13.5.5 beta has unveiled a new audio feature for the company’s Apple News Plus service that adds podcast-style recordings of long-form articles to the app, as determined by 9to5Mac.

Apple was reportedly working on the feature beginning this year, but the recently revealed section of the News app marks the first real look at the audio endeavour.

The beta adds a new “Audio” tab to the Apple News app, where the audio versions of stories will be settled. The tab isn’t completely functional yet; right now, there are no actual recordings that play.

But in the version of the app found by 9to5Mac, articles from The Wall Street Journal, Wired, People, Variety, and New York Magazine had audio versions. However, it’s nearly sure that Apple is yet working out licensing details.

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As 9to5Mac notes in its video, the interface here is very comparable to Apple’s Podcasting app UI, with a quick 15-second rewind button and options for faster playback.

There’s also a quick link that can take audiences from the audio version of the story to the written one, enabling them to follow along with the original text while hearing to the article.

Distinctly, the original report for Apple’s audio ambitions intimates that the company isn’t looking just to license existing podcasting content, but rather create its audio versions with professional actors of the same premium news content that it happens with Apple News Plus.

The audio stories are only accessible for subscribers to the $9.99-a-month Apple News Plus subscription.

Apple’s subscription services (including Apple News Plus) are crucial to the company’s long-term plans, and offering a premium, podcast-like experience for significant features and long-form articles could help bring in more customers.

It’s not clear when Apple intends to launch Audio for Apple News Plus, but the fact that it’s in the new iOS beta would appear to show the company is closer to a release than not. With WWDC 2020 just around the corner, a more formal decision could likely be coming soon.

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