Tag Archives: Apple

Apple News Launches New Audio Features and a Podcast



Apple announced that it is introducing several new features for Apple News and Apple News+, including audio stories of some of the best feature stories from Apple News+, a daily audio news briefing hosted by Apple News editors, and curated local news collections.

With Apple News Today, a daily audio news briefing, Apple News editors and co-hosts Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino guide listeners through some of the most fascinating stories in the news — and how the world’s best journalists are covering them. Apple News Today is free to all listeners and available mornings Monday through Friday directly in the News app in the US and on Apple Podcasts.

The curated collections will begin in five cities and regions and will expand to more areas in the future. Apple News is also adding more top local and regional news outlets for readers and subscribers, including The Charlotte Observer, the Miami Herald, and The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina).

Apple News will produce about 20 audio stories a week across a wide range of interests. Narrated by professional voice actors, these are audio versions of some of the best feature reporting and long-form pieces published by Esquire, Essence, Fast Company, GQ, New York magazine, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, and more, and newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Audio stories are now available to Apple News+ subscribers in the US.

Audio stories and Apple News Today can both be found in the newly added Audio tab, located at the bottom of the News app, where users can manage their queue and get personalized recommendations. Both new audio features are available on iPhone, iPod touch, and CarPlay.


Apple Removed Pocket Casts and Castro Podcasts from its China Store.



TechCrunch reported that both Pocket Casts and Castro Podcasts have been removed from Apple’s China store. This means that users in China can no longer access podcasts through either of those podcast apps. According to TechCrunch, it is likely that China engaged in this act of censorship in an attempt to tighten access to information in the lead-up to the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

On June 10, 2020, Pocket Casts tweeted:“Pocket Casts has been removed from the Chinese App store by Apple, at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China. We believe podcasting is and should remain an open medium, free of government censorship. As such we won’t be censoring podcast content at their request.”

Pocket Casts also tweeted: “We understand this means that it’s unlikely that our iOS App will be available in China, but feel it is a necessary step to take for any company that values the open distribution model that makes podcasting special.”

When asked by a Twitter users if Pocket Casts had been contacted by China before the takedown, Pocket Casts tweeted: “We were contacted by the CAC through Apple around 2 days before the app was removed from the store.”

According to TechCrunch, Pocket Casts for a clarification from Apple about what happened. Apple’s app review team directed Pocket Casts to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China directly.

TechCrunch received a statement from a spokesperson for Pocket Casts. “We will likely contact them to find out more, though we weren’t given that option to stop the app from being removed, only as a potential solution if reinstated. The very small amount of warning we were given between there being a problem, and our app being completely removed from the Chinese app store was quite alarming.”

On June 7, 2020, @IPNpodcast asked Castro Podcasts why it had been taken down from the Chinese app store. Castro Podcast responded: “We think it might have been our support of the protests in the Discover tab. We were not given specifics.”

Also on June 10, 2020, Castro Podcasts responded to a tweet in which a Twitter user retweeted one of Pocket Casts above tweets. The Twitter users asked if Castro Podcasts was affected as well.

Castro Podcasts tweeted: a response: “We received our notice one minute after Pocketcasts. Still working out what to do.”

Castro Podcasts continued with another tweet: “It sucks. China was about 10% of our user base, but a much smaller percent of our subscriber base. I don’t really like the idea of doing a bunch of extra work so some poor people can have a firewalled reality.”

Castro Podcasts continued: “Ultimately they can just block Castro’s servers in China even if we do nothing. So the question will be, do we want a lobotomized version of Castro in China or no Castro in China?”


Apple is Replacing iTunes



Apple previewed macOS Catalina, at WWDC 2019. With macOS Catalina, Apple is replacing iTunes with its popular entertainment apps – Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and the Apple TV app.

“With macOS Catalina, we’re bringing fresh new apps to the Mac, starting with new standalone versions of Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, and the Apple TV app,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Users will appreciate how they can expand their workplace with Sidecar, enabling new ways of interacting with Mac apps using iPad and Apple Pencil. And with new developer technologies, users will see more great third-party apps arrive on the Mac this fall.”

Based on the information Apple posted in its Newsroom, there doesn’t appear to be any changes happening to the Apple Podcasts app. This isn’t very surprising, because Apple Podcasts was launched in 2017 and appears to be quite popular.

Apple launched the iTunes Music Store in 2003, and it has gone through many changes since then. When macOS Catalina launches, iTunes will be split into three separate apps. Apple is replacing iTunes with a new Music app for Mac.

According to Apple, “Users will have access to their entire music library, whether they downloaded the songs, purchased them or ripped them from a CD. For those who like to own their music, the iTunes Music Store is just a click away.”

What does this all mean for podcasters? It sounds like you won’t have to make any changes to your podcast if it is currently on Apple Podcasts. You will still be subscribed to whatever podcasts you already are via Apple Podcasts.

I recommend that podcasters go through their iTunes library before they update to macOS Catalina. Your music will find its way to the Music app for Mac. I’m not certain that podcast episodes, that you downloaded outside of Apple Podcasts, and then put into iTunes, will also migrate.


Apple Seeks a Data Scientist for Apple Podcasts and Media Products



Apple Podcasts is seeking a Data Scientist to join a team passionate about Data Science & Analytics for Apple Media Products (AMP) covering Apple Podcasts.

This role will involve working with Internet-scale data across numerous product and customer touch points, undertaking in-depth quantitative analysis and building models to drive product and strategy.

Dive deep into large-scale data to uncover trends and identify key insights that will propel the Apple Podcasts product and content strategy. Craft how to best monitor, measure and understand product and business performance. Collaborate with business, marketing, finance and executive teams to generate regular presentations for C-level. Partner with other Apple organizations on data gathering, data governance, evangelizing key performance indicators and democratizing data. Your creative problem solving will be utilized daily.

Key Qualifications include:

  • 3+ years of experience in a Data Scientist or Data Analyst role, preferably for a digital publishing or digital subscription business. Domain knowledge in the podcasting space is a plus.
  • Strong proficiency with SQL-based languages. Experience with large scale analytics technologies such as Hadoop and Spark preferred.
  • Familiarity with Python or R and data visualization tools such as Tableau for full-stack data analysis, insight synthesis and presentation.
  • Experience using relevant statistical packages to build predictive/ML models and knowledge of A/B test experimentation design.

Visit the Apple website where the Data Scientist job is listed for more information about qualifications, education and experience required, and to submit a resume.


Apple, YouTube, and Facebook Removed Alex Jones’ Content



Last week, Spotify deleted several episodes of The Alex Jones Podcast. The reason was because that content violated Spotify’s hate content policy. Stitcher removed Alex Jones’ podcasts on August 2, 2018. Apple, Facebook, and YouTube have followed with their own bans.

Buzzfeed News reported that Apple removed the entire library for five of Infowars’ six podcasts from its iTunes and Podcasts Apps. Among them were War Room and Alex Jones Show.

Buzzfeed reported a statement from Apple that said:

“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcast that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”

CNBC reported that YouTube, which is owned by Google, has removed the Alex Jones Channel.

CNBC reported that Google said in a statement regarding the removal of the page: “All users agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”

Facebook provided information about why they removed four videos on four Alex Jones Facebook pages in a newsroom post titled: “Enforcing Our Community Standards”.

It starts with: “We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe. It’s why we have Community Standards and remove anything that violates them, including hate speech that attacks or dehumanizes others. Earlier today, we removed four Pages belonging to Alex Jones for repeatedly posting content over the past several days that breaks those Community Standards.”

Toward the end of the post, Facebook said: “As a result of reports we received, last week, we removed videos on four Facebook Pages for violating our hate speech and bullying policies. These pages were the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page, and the InfoWars Nightly News page. In addition, one of the admins of these Pages – Alex Jones – was placed in a 30-day block for his role in posting violating content to these Pages.”

Facebook also removed more content from the same pages that had been reported to them. Facebook took it down for glorifying violence, which violates Facebook’s graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describes people who are transgender, Muslims, and immigrants, which violates their hate speech policies.

On August 2, 2018, Stitcher posted a tweet that said: “Thanks for your note. We have reviewed Alex Jones’ podcasts and found he has, on multiple occasions, harassed or allowed harassment of private individuals and organizations, (1/2)”

Stitcher followed that with a second tweet: “and that harassment has led listeners of the show to engage in similar harassment and other damaging activity. Therefore, we have decided to remove his podcasts from the Stitcher platform.”


Apple is Hiring a Digital Supply Chain Technical Producer



Apple logoApple is hiring a Digital Supply Chain, Technical Producer. The job listing was posted on January 19, 2018. The position includes 40 hours a week. The hourly pay was not described in the job listing.

Here’s the summary of the job:

Apple Podcasts boasts the largest and most popular podcast directory in the world and serves a global audience of millions. Our Siri Audio News briefs keeps listeners informed around the world. The Apple Podcast and Siri Audio News team seeks a Content Producer to be responsible for the health of the podcast and audio news catalogs and act as our front-line point of provider support.

Our new team member will handle the partner-hosted content supply chains, process DMCA removals, support Apple-internal podcast providers, oversee our support forums and manage our technical documents. This role demands the Content Producer support a larger number of providers, ranging from first-time amateurs to large public broadcasters and Fortune 100 companies.

Some Key Qualifications include:

  • Excellent written communication skills, focused specifically on technical communication with vendors
  • Strong time-management skills and a demonstrated ability to work independently as well as in a team environment
  • Strong understanding of the technology behind blogging, podcasting, RSS, XML, and media streaming protocols
  • Good understanding of the podcast, radio and online video media landscapes
  • Complete understanding of Apple Podcasts on macOS, tvOS and iOS
  • Fluency in English with Spanish or Asian language skills an advantage
  • BA/BS degree in business, communication, technology or related field.

For full details, please visit the Digital Supply Chain Technical Producer job listing on the Apple website.


Apple has Acquired Pop Up Archive



Apple logoNicholas Quah reported in his Hot Pod Newsletter on Nieman Lab earlier this month that Apple has acquired Pop Up Archive. It was the parent company of Audiosear.ch. Both of them shut down on November 29, 2017.

Pop Up Archive focused on building tools to transcribe, organize, and search audio files. Audiosear.ch was among Pop Up Archive’s suite of tools. Audiosear.ch was its podcast search engine. Nicholas Quah shared the following insight:

That said, I’m pretty sure you can put two and two together with what’s on paper: Apple, long the dominant hands-off steward of the podcast universe, has acquired a technology dedicated to increasing the knowability and sortability of the hundreds of thousands of shows distributed through its Apple Podcast platform. This, as you can imagine, has widespread implications for the ecosystem.

Exactly how Apple will use its newly acquired tools is unclear, or if they are already using them in some “behind-the-scenes” way. I searched for a press release from Apple about this acquisition, but was unable to locate one.


Apple Podcast Announcement Wrap-up – PCN Show 043



PCN iTunes artworkApple’s announcement this week at the end of the Worldwide Developer Conference is some of the biggest podcasting news to happen in years. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate an entire episode to it.

Links:

 


New Features for Listeners, Stats for Podcasters Coming to Apple Podcasts



Apple logoApple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is wrapping up this weekend in California. While Apple made plenty of announcements during WWDC, the tech giant may have truly left the best for last (at least, if you’re a podcaster).

Today, Apple announced major changes to its podcast spec. The first such spec changes the company has made in years. Apple also announced that it will finally be providing at least some listener data to podcast producers.

Acknowledging recent trends in the podcasting space, Apple will now provide support for seasons, preview episodes, and bonus episodes within its podcast RSS feed spec. That means it’ll be easier for podcasters to organize episodes by season, so listeners can download and listen back to episodes in the correct order. The preview and bonus episode options will make it easier for podcasters and listeners alike to identify episodes that might not be part of a podcast’s regular production cycle.

There’s been a lot of industry pressure as of late on Apple to provide listener data to podcasters. Acquiescing to these demands, Apple will begin providing some actual listener data to podcast producers:

Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping. This has the potential to dramatically change our perception of how many people really listen to a show, and how many people skip ads, as well as how long a podcast can run before people just give up.

While this might look like the holy grail to some in terms of listener metrics, it appears that this data will be limited to listener activity from the iOS Podcasts app only. Not the cross-platform iTunes desktop application. And of course, it won’t pull in data from any services outside of the Apple ecosphere.

It’s not yet clear when Apple will allow podcasters to access listener data. The full implementation of the new Apple Podcasts RSS spec will likely coincide with the release of iOS 11 later this year. If you’d like to see what the new RSS tags will look like, Apple has released a document that covers the changes it’ll be making to the spec.