According to a new report from TechCrunch, Apple is working to launch a new form for news consumption in iTunes. The company is apparently developing something it calls Spoken Editions, which are short clips that take writing from a variety of publishers and transform it into spoken word content…
Spoken Editions were leaked on iTunes earlier today, though Apple has seemingly already pulled the evidence. According to today’s report, one of the companies Apple is working with for Spoken Editions is SpokenLayaer, which creates streaming audio and podcasts for a variety of different publications. Currently, SpokenLayer works with publishers such as Forbes, Huffington Post, TIME, Reuters, Smithsonian, Scripps, and more.
Today’s leak offered a hint at what kinds of publications Apple will be working with for Spoken Editions from the start. For instance, Wired will have Spoken Editions for “Business,” “Science,” and its homepage, while TIME will offer a Spoken Edition called “The Brief.” Other publications include Forbes, .Mic, Bustle, OZ, and Playboy.
In terms of monetization, Spoken Editions will include audio ads to make up for ad revenue lost due to readers turning into listeners. The ad revenue will be shared between the publisher and SpokenLayaer, though.
While SpokenLayer CEO Will Mayo declined to talk about Apple’s Spoken Editions feature, he did note that his company is more than capable of handling the task.
“We have a distributed network of voice-over talent that is tagged and managed,” he said. “We make sure Wired sounds like Wired and any other publication sounds like those publications. The voice and style of any brand is in its writers and the reporting it does. That’s unique for every publication, and that uniqueness is honored.”
One likely possibility for Spoken Editions is that they will be integrated into the alleged standalone Siri device that Apple is believed to be working on. Spoken Editions would allow for users to get an audio look at news throughout the day with the Siri device, much like Amazon Alexa already does. Earlier today, it was reported that Apple’s Siri-powered device is already in prototype testing.
Spoken Editions are an interesting idea by Apple, who helped push the digital audio consumption method to the mainstream with podcasts. Spoken Editions could also be integrated into Apple News, as well as the Apple TV.
Spoken Editions are expected to go live in earlier October.