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Apple News adds audio stories and a daily podcast

It also introduced local news hubs for select cities and regions.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
July 15, 2020
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Apple is adding a bunch more features to Apple News and News+, including a greater focus on audio and local news. You’ll be able to listen to audio versions of some of the best feature and long-form stories on News+. Apple will produce around 20 of these audio stories each week with professional voice actors narrating them.

If you’re reading a story that has an audio version and have to step out, you can pop on your headphones and listen from where you left off. Apple News+ subscribers in the US can check out the audio stories starting today — the features are included in iOS 13.6 and macOS 10.15.6, and Apple is rolling out both now.

Apple is also making its own daily podcast called Apple News Today. New episodes will drop every weekday, and it won’t be locked behind the Apple News+ subscription. You can listen via Apple Podcasts and the new Audio tab on Apple News. You’ll find the audio stories there as well, along with recommendations and a way to manage your queue. CarPlay now supports Apple News as well, so you can listen to the audio stories and podcast while driving.

Apple News on Carplay
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On top of those audio features, Apple is expanding its local news coverage. It has added more major local papers to Apple News, including The Charlotte Observer, the Miami Herald, and Raleigh, North Carolina’s The News & Observer. News+ subscribers in Canada now have access to Le Devoir and The Globe and Mail will hit the service later this summer. Late last month, members lost access to New York Times articles when the newspaper cut ties with Apple News.

Folks in the Bay Area, Houston, Los Angeles and New York now have access to local news collections curated by local Apple News editors, which feature stories and updates from several publishers in each locale. The collections cover a range of topics beyond local news, such as weather, sports and dining, and there’s a personalization element to them. Apple plans to roll out these collections to more cities and regions in the future.

The company says that Apple News now has more than 125 million active users in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. Apple hasn’t revealed how many paying subscribers the service has. It reportedly struggled to attract subscribers at the outset, but the latest feature additions could entice more people to sign up.

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