Tag: apple

iTunes Spoken Editions is on its way to Apple

The iPhone maker is responding to the popularity of audio books and digital services for reading aloud.

iTunes Spoken Editions is about to become the latest service launched by Apple. The service is designed to read news and magazine articles out loud, and will likely include mobile ads, too.

To start, it looks as though Time, Wired, Mic, Playboy and Forbs will be the first participating publishers.

The iTunes Spoken Editions platform will launch in early October. It will have many components that bring to mind the Audible Channels and Amazon Alexa, among others. This will make it possible for Apple users to listen to certain mainstream news publications without having to read the articles. Therefore, they will be able to hear the articles while they go about their day, whether they are completing various chores or commuting.

iTunes Spoken Edition - Man Using TabletIt is for this same reason that audio books have taken off in popularity over the last few years. People are often choosing podcasts and audio books over magazine articles and printed books. When it comes to the news, they don’t often read more than the title as well as the first paragraph and possibly the last one.

The iTunes Spoken Editions will be read by a digital speech generator and not by actual human readers.

The news articles and other audio items won’t be read by narrators or journalists. Instead, Apple will be using a text-to –speech engine that is not unlike Alexa.

It is also likely that Apple won’t miss the opportunity to be able to include advertising into this new audio service. Just as SpokenLayer includes ads in its service, this new platform will likely do the same thing. Its goal is typically to help to make up for the rapidly declining revenue from the reduced print subscriptions and the falling readership.

Apple has yet to officially release the full details of its iTunes Spoken Editions platform. That said, it wouldn’t be impossible to believe that it would be able to achieve integration with other services as well. Some have speculated that this could potentially include Apple News and possibly even Apple TV.

Apple’s grasp on the mobile device market in China plummets

Local rivals have been heading up-market while Samsung offers consumers an unbeatable price.

Apple experienced some disappointing news from the mobile device market in China. During the third quarter, the iPhone maker saw a 29 percent drop in revenue compared to the second quarter.

Apple’s revenues from China also saw a surprising drop by a huge 33 percent year over year.

Third financial quarter 2015 revenues had been $13.2 billion in the Chinese mobile device market. This year during the same quarter, there has been a plummet to a much lower $8.8 billion. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, blamed the slowing growth of the country’s economy as a primary reason for the nosedive in revenues.

Apple had once held the coveted place as the “it” brand in the Chinese mobile device market.

Mobile Device Market China - Chinese FlagHowever, local mobile device companies have been placing a massive focus on their brand image efforts. This has allowed many of them to grow from the level of cheap basic phone to upmarket premium smartphone models.

Among the top threats Apple is facing within the mobile phone marketplace in China is Xiaomi. That company has managed to clone a broad spectrum of Apple’s features, designs and even its marketing approach. It has been making every effort to replicate the appeal of Apple while knocking the pins out of the iPhone maker’s position at the same time.

In fact, it raced to replicate two anticipated upcoming iPhone features – that is, the dual cameras and OLED displays. Xiaomi then launched that device on the same day Apple was to announce its drooping revenue results. At the same time, Xiaomi has been working to appeal to the Chinese market to proudly buy local. It has strategically placed a series of billboard ads in the country calling its devices the “Made-in-China smartphones.” This, despite the fact that the majority of iPhones are, in fact, made in China as well.

That said, the Wall Street Journal identified another problem Apple is facing in the mobile phone market in China. Both Oppo and Huawei have launched attractive new premium smartphones to take on the iPhone. They have successfully given consumers another choice of high end device with a more affordable price tag. Following this successful positioning, they have been able to take a slice out of Apple, so to speak.

The American company now holds fifth place in the Chinese smartphone marketplace, behind Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. Samsung is rapidly approaching by offering its devices with competitive pricing.