In brief: Apple could launch a paid-for podcast subscription service featuring original and exclusive programming as early as this year. What's more, in a bid to attract content creators to its platform, Apple could allow makers to earn higher revenue through charging for individual podcasts.

Apple's services business has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with Cupertino adding Apple Arcade, TV+, and most recently Fitness+ to its roster of paid-for services. Many of us felt it was only a matter of time before the company offered a subscription-based "Podcasts+" option featuring original content. Now, it seems that time could be upon us, because honestly, who doesn't want yet another subscription?

The Information reports that Apple is in talks with production companies concerning a new, paid-for podcast service – one that would see Apple take on the likes of Spotify, SiriusXM, and Amazon.

Bloomberg has also weighed-in on the matter, citing its own sources and claiming that Apple's podcast subscription service is set to launch in 2021, indicating that we could hear more about it during Apple's WWDC keynote in June. Like TV+, a paid podcasts service from Apple would feature original programming designed to lure customers away from other platforms.

While Apple's other services adopt a traditional monthly or annual subscription model, The Information claims that Apple may also allow customers to purchase individual podcasts. This could offer greater flexibility for customers while providing content-creators with an opportunity to make more money. It's an interesting approach that could give Apple's service the edge over competing platforms.

Apple has been a big name in the podcasting industry for over a decade. Although the company has historically offered podcasts free of charge, both Spotify and Amazon are investing in exclusive, original content for their respective platforms. And with Apple's focus on services growing stronger by the year, a podcast subscription service seems like a logical and arguably essential next step.