What's Up With Apple: Podcasts, Early Prime Day Deals and More

On Tuesday, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) launched its Apple Podcast Subscriptions service that gives podcast creators the opportunity to offer their work to paying subscribers. The service extends Apple Podcasts, a free, ad-supported way for people to listen.

On Thursday, Spotify picked up the gauntlet, paying a reported $60 million to acquire podcast discovery service Podz. Here’s what Spotify said Podz technology can do:

Powered by state-of-the-art machine learning technology, Podz generates high-quality clips that give users the opportunity to preview key moments from podcast episodes, encouraging them to discover and listen to new podcasts.

According to a report in TechCrunch, “when it comes to driving revenue from podcast subscriptions, Spotify and Apple are neck and neck.” Apple will take its usual 30% fee for the first year and then drop its rate to 15%. Spotify has said it will not take any cut of podcast revenue until 2023 and that cut will be just 5%.

Amazon’s Prime Day promotion begins Monday, but the e-commerce behemoth already is offering savings on a range of new Apple products. Apple Watch Series 6, for example, is available for $320, a price cut of $79, according to a report in Macworld.

Other pricing deals include a fourth-generation 10.9-inch iPad Air (Wi-Fi only) selling for $549, a savings of $50 from the list price. A new MacBook Air with the M1 chip and 256 GB of storage is selling for $949, a savings of $50.

With the recent launch of the second-generation Apple TV 4K, chatter has heated up that Apple is working on its own gaming controller. The new TV box does not include some features that were present in the first-generation box and that would have to be included in a gaming controller. According to MacRumors, the addition of an on-screen virtual controller in iOS 15 and recent support for both PlayStation and Xbox controllers, “it does not seem unlikely that Apple could turn its new virtual controller into a physical accessory.”