As Google is shifting its podcast listeners over to YouTube Music, Apple today announced an upgraded experience for its own Apple Podcasts app, following the release of iOS 17. With the software update, the service will now support a refreshed design with full-screen artwork, a more streamlined queue, episode art, interactive widgets, search filters and support for the iPhone’s new StandBy mode.
In addition, subscribers to Apple Music, Apple News+ and partners Calm and Lingokids will gain access to more than 60 original podcasts, the company says, including Apple Music Radio shows that will now be available in the Apple Podcasts app.
Other apps with subscriptions will also be able to integrate with Apple Podcasts with a new API that will make their subscription-based shows available to paying users within the Podcasts app. This includes any app that provides premium audio content — like podcasts, news briefs, narrated articles, radio shows with music, educational courses, guided meditations, sleep sounds and more.
The feature, for example, could be adopted by an app like The York Times Audio app launched in May, if it chose to do so. The app, which offers exclusive audio podcasts not available through other services, was criticized because it misunderstood how people like to consume podcasts and audio news — even if they’re NYT superfans, they’re not likely to want to seek out a dedicated NYT audio app for that purpose. People already have their preferred ways of consuming podcasts, and Apple Podcasts is at the top of that list for many iPhone owners.
Third-party apps that integrate with this API to import their content will also be available in Apple Podcasts, where their own subscribers will be able to manually sign into their account from the Podcasts app. This allows them to stream the content across Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, HomePod, CarPlay and Apple Watch with AirPods, the company says.
Early adopters of the feature include Bloomberg, Curio, L’Équipe, Mamamia, Sleep Cycle, The Economist, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, WELT News and Zen. Starting next month, listeners will be able to connect their subscriptions with Apple Podcasts.
Apple is leading by example here by making its own narrated audio news articles from Apple News+ publishers available in the Apple Podcasts app for its subscribers. The feature is now branded as Apple News+ Narrated, and will now be available in both Apple Podcasts and Apple News.
Meanwhile, Apple Music’s coverage of the 2024 Apple Music Halftime Show will be available to subscribers on Apple Podcasts, along with anchor-hosted shows from Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Kelleigh Bannen, and artist-hosted programs like “Angel Hour Radio” with pop singer-songwriter Reneé Rapp, “Time Crisis” hosted by Vampire Weekend’s frontman Ezra Koenig, “OTHERtone” featuring artist and producer Pharrell Williams, and others, like “Deep Hidden Meaning Radio” and weekly playlist shows like “Rap Life Radio,” and many more.
An included graphic indicates there are 42 shows becoming available from Apple Music and four from Apple News, including the daily briefing Apple News Today, a weekly interview show Apple News In Conversation, as well as Apple News+ Narrated and a World Cup show, After the Whistle.
The ability to connect your app subscriptions to Apple Podcasts requires iOS 17, iPadOS 17 or MacOS Sonoma and support from the app’s developer, and may vary by region. Apple News+ is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, while Apple Music is available in more than 67 countries and regions.