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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple is planning on turning news stories and articles from popular news sites into audio podcasts called "Spoken Editions," reports TechCrunch. Spoken Editions will be short broadcasts that transform content from publishers into spoken word instead of written word, making it possible for customers to listen to their favorite news sites.

An early leak on iTunes suggests Apple has already teamed up with several publishers, including Wired, TIME, and Forbes, offering dedicated "Spoken Edition" sections on company iTunes pages.

Wired, for example, will launch Spoken Editions for "Business," "Science," and its homepage. TIME has will offer a Spoken Edition called "The Brief." Forbes, .Mic, Bustle, Playboy, OZY, and - yep - TechCrunch (which I discovered while browsing our iTunes page, of all things), will have Spoken Editions, it seems, as all popped up for a time on iTunes.

The links to all the publishers' Spoken Editions have since been pulled, after our discovery and outreach.
Some digging by TechCrunch suggests many of the publishers' Spoken Edition podcasts were created by SpokenLayer, a company that creates streaming audio and podcasts for media brands using text. SpokenLayer already works with a host of publishers like Forbes, Huffington Post, TIME, Reuters, and more, with audio recordings distributed on iTunes, SoundCloud, and other sources.

Spoken Editions will include audio ads, with revenue shared between the publisher and SpokenLayer, and the company makes an effort to make sure each brand sounds unique. "We make sure Wired sounds like Wired and any other publication sounds like those publications," SpokenLayer CEO Will Mayo told TechCrunch.

Spoken Editions are set to launch soon, rolling out in early October.

Update 10/3: Spoken Editions are now live.

Article Link: Apple to Offer 'Spoken Editions' of Written News on iTunes [Update: Now Live]


macrumors P6
Mar 21, 2011
Australia, Perth
"We make sure Wired sounds like Wired and any other publication sounds like those publications,"

So this would be more like an Audible thing but for news.

Should be good ..
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macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
Western US
We've confirmed Gwenyth Paltrow will personally read every user each news article they want to hear, in a strong Cockney accent, that's pretty cool.


macrumors member
Oct 7, 2013
I don't think that's an Apple project. At most they're just going to give a special iTunes layout and some banner time to SpokenLayer

If Apple is doing it, they will work under the Apple News team for the content, which is a team that has customized and generated a list of more personal news using the Apple News backend. They just need to support video in between like a real news program (to make you want to open and watch), and let you skip an article by double click on the remote (or yelling at your Airpods)
All they need is preload both gender speech synthesizer for every languages (which they already do for Siri), auto download HD ones based on your localization setting, push news directly to iPhone, and generate speech recording when charging.
In fact, they can even expand the functionality, by smoothly cut in to some emergency news, like nearby Amber alert, snow storm in where your mother's staying (Find My Friend required), or really important international news, like Russia just send troops to somewhere
If they want ads, Apple can reboot iAds (Well, Steve made it, so it must be great, right? ), or just open a section in iTunes Connect to link with different advertisers

In comparison, the current Podcast app is buggy, not personally tailored (even the ad), slow (on update. They still using fetch instead of push, and not cache in Apple CDN), and doesn't understand how to play a set of audio from the oldest one.
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macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2015
So, Apple HAS fogotten all about podcasts after all.
These hardly sound like podcasts. Podcasts are long listening experiences, often covering several different topics. These will be short listening experiences dictating the content of the article.

I think this will be really great because I sometimes have Siri read articles to me while I do things that prevent me from looking at the screen.
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macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2010
Brighton, UK
Umano was a favourite app of mine that did something similar: news read and recorded by professional narrators. The content was diverse and always interesting.

I was extremely disappointed when Dropbox acquired them last year and then shut the service down.

Looking forward to this.


macrumors 68040
Feb 11, 2012
Florida, USA
What about Scarlett Johannsen? Actually I would settle for a synthesised Marilyn Monroe.

Of concern though, is who is doing the curation of what gets made available for this? Will they represent a true cross section of society?
I could listen to Scarlett Johannsen all day.

And I don't even swing that way.

What's Laurie Anderson doing these days? She could read the news while playing minimalist tunes on her synthesizer keyboard.
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