Over the past several months, Apple has been asking the publishers participating in its year-old premium program for permission to produce audio versions of the stories distributed there, according to sources at four different publishers that have heard the pitch.
The option of listening to stories on Apple News+ fits into a recent trend of publishers offering audio versions of their stories on their own properties, such as their websites, or within their mobile apps.
Even with Apple handling most of the heavy lifting, several publishers regard the plans skeptically, three sources said. One said it has not seen evidence that Apple News’s audience will want to listen to audio versions of their stories. A second worried that if Apple emphasizes audio for News+, it could further skew the picture of who gets compensated: Listening to a story, after all, takes longer than reading one.
Someone (or more likely something via computer voice) reading stories doesn’t sound like something that would make Apple News+ more interesting to me.