Apple is testing a “Spoken Edition” category under the podcast section of iTunes, which will feature short-form audio content from major publishers such as Time, Wired, and Forbes, offering listeners a new way to consume news and editorial content. Like podcasts, the audio content will contain ads. iTunes is open to most podcasting networks and publishers, and some publishers are working with SpokenLayer to convert their written content into audio clips.
What Brands Need To Do
With the recent podcast renaissance and the rise of conversational interfaces, audio content has been attracting a lot of media attention. Brands such as GE, State Farm, and eBay are already seeing success in consumer engagement via branded audio content. This upcoming iTunes category offers brands a new channel to reach consumers with sponsored audio content or ads.
There’s no shortage of wireless headphones and earplugs at this year’s CES, but Hush’s smart earplugs stands out for its unique function. Instead of focusing on great sound quality or customizable shapes, Hush is designed to block out the noise by crooning sleep-inducing sounds into your ears and help you fall asleep.
Users can choose the sleep sounds of their choice via Hush’s smartphone app and load it onto the smart earplugs, which helps to preserve the phone’s battery. It will also recognize the alarm you set on your phone and play it to wake you up on time. As more and more everyday devices become connected with the smartphone and gain new functionality, we expect to see more smart gadgets like this infiltrate our daily life.
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Header image courtesy of Hush Technology’s Website
iSpeech has launched their publisher platform allowing third parties affordably convert their text to speech. The audio can be produced from PDFs, incorporated via a widget or through iSpeech’s API and is already being adopted by Evernote and Pearson. iSpeech’s solution will be key for delivering media on-the-go, particularly in car environments. While car manufacturers are already integrating apps into their entertainment systems like Ford Sync, iSpeech’s solution has a far greater reach currently.
As SoundCloud becomes an increasingly dominant platform for music sharing, it may soon be able to claim the title “YouTube of audio.” The service, which launched in October 2008, rolled out its latest version, called “Next” on Tuesday along with the news that it is now used by 180 million users a month. New features include improved search, social media integration, and sharing functionality.