Apple News Adds Daily Podcast, Audio Stories

Apple
The 2019 event where Apple unveiled News+

'Apple News Today' will be hosted by Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino.

Apple is adding audio to its News app. 

The tech giant said Wednesday that it is launching its own daily podcast, Apple News Today. The short briefing will be hosted by Apple News editors Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino and will be available for free to all Apple News users. New episodes will drop Monday through Friday and will also be available via the Apple Podcasts app.

It also has started producing around 20 audio stories a week for subscribers to its year-old News+ service. Narrated by voice actors, the stories will offer a new way to consume feature reporting from Apple's partners, including Esquire, Essence, New York, Vanity Fair and Wired. The move into audio storytelling follows the New York Times' spring acquisition of Audm, which now powers journalist-narrated versions of stories that appear in the feed for The Daily every Sunday. 

Apple also said that the News app would now be supported via its connected vehicle platform, CarPlay. 

Apple launched News+ in March of 2019, offering a curated selection of current events and featuring reporting to people willing to pay $10 per month. It was part of a larger push into subscriptions for the tech company, which also sells entertainment services Apple Music and Apple TV+. 

The product's deal terms drew some ire from news organizations. In June, the Times said it would leave Apple News because the product "does not align with our strategy to fund quality journalism by building direct relationships with paying readers." 

Apple said News now has 125 million monthly active users in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada. 

In addition to the new audio features, Apple is launching a local news hub within the News app. It is available in San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and New York metro areas and will feature local stories from outlets including that city's major newspaper. Topics covered will include sports, weather, politics and dining. As part of its local push, the company is also adding a handful of new regional newspapers, including the Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald, to News+. 

“Apple News showcases so much great journalism, and we’re excited to help bring it to life in new ways with Apple News+ audio stories and a new daily news show, Apple News Today,” said Lauren Kern, editor-in-chief of Apple News. “We also greatly value our many local news partners — our new local news feature highlights their work for readers who live, and are interested, in those communities.”