Apple Podcasts is getting an overhaul of sorts. On Tuesday, Apple announced Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which will allow listeners to pay podcasts creators a monthly subscription fee to access a range of benefits from ad-free episodes, additional content, early access to episodes or exclusive series. The new feature is compatible with Family Sharing so you can share podcast subscriptions with up to six family members. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions are coming in May — that's next month — to over 170 countries and regions.
Creators will get to decide pricing for Apple Podcasts Subscriptions — and pick between monthly or annual billing. Podcast creators can also offer free trials and sample episodes so listeners can decide if they think it's worth a fee. Creators will need to sign up for Apple Podcasters Program to access all of the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions on Apple Podcasts. It costs Rs. 1,799 / $19.99 per year. Podcast creators can sign up for Apple Podcasters Program starting Tuesday via the Apple Podcasts Connect website.
Now we know why Apple Podcasts switched the subscribe button to follow last month.
Additionally, the Apple Podcasts app will have a new look with iOS 14.5 (rolling out next week). Apple is introducing channels that allow creators to group shows. Think of multiple shows made by a common publisher — you'll now be able to browse them in a single section. Channels will also support Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which means there will be both free and paid channels. With paid channels, podcast creators can offer additional benefits for subscribers.
Channels aren't getting all the attention. The individual show pages are also being revamped with a cover photo, and bigger follow and listen buttons. Beyond that, the Apple Podcasts app is also getting an improved Search tab that will offer categories and Top Charts. All of these new Apple Podcasts features will be available with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and macOS 11.3. Episodes you save are also available on watchOS 7.4 and tvOS 14.5.
“Fifteen years ago, Apple took podcasts mainstream, offering creators a premier, open platform to inform, entertain, and inspire hundreds of millions of listeners around the world,” Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue said in a prepared statement. “Today, Apple Podcasts is the best place for listeners to discover and enjoy millions of great shows, and we are proud to lead the next chapter of podcasting with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. We're excited to introduce this powerful new platform to creators around the world, and we can't wait to hear what they make with it.”
Is OnePlus 9R old wine in a new bottle — or something more? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:00), we talk about the new OnePlus Watch. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.