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IS apple podcasts' rumored subscription service TRUE?

Apple REPLACES 'SUBSCRIBE' BUTTON WITH ‘follow’ IN IT's NEW Podcasts app iOS 14.5

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NEW CHANGES

With iOS 14.5 beta 4 released recently, Apple has more changes to the Podcasts app, including a new “Welcome” interface that promotes the “Smart Play Button.”
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When you download iOS 14.5 beta 4, you will notice a new welcome page featuring “New Show Pages,” “Follow Shows,” and “Save Episodes.”

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REFINING LANGUAGE

Apple refines the language surrounding 'subscribing to' replaces it with 'following' podcasts.
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'FREE' IS OVER?

After changing the “subscribe” button to a new “follow” button in the Podcasts app, Apple has now stopped saying that all the content available is free.
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Does 'Subscribe' mean paid content ?

According to a study from Edison Research, about 47% of users associate “subscribe” with paid content. Tom Webster from Edison Research says, "Today, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are the three most widely used services to play podcasts, and now the word Subscribe means ‘automatically download for free’ in exactly none of them."
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"FOLLOW" REPLACES "FREE AUDIO STORIES"

The changes that Apple made recently-especially including the “follow” button and omitting “free audio stories” comes at an interesting time, as rumors suggest Apple is working on a new paid podcast platform. Although details are unclear, not using the word “subscribe” for every podcast may also be related to this upcoming subscription podcast service.
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APPLE PODCASTS SMART PLAY BUTTON

Apple is also touting a new “smart play button” in the Podcasts app. It can show “Play Latest Episode,” “Play Again,” “Resume,” and “Play Next Episode.” This is useful for users to keep on track of what shows they are currently listening to.