The confusion amongst the Apple HomePod users about the music it can play has ended, as recently Apple has added an ‘audio sources’ section to HomePod’s tech specs webpage announcing the lists of all the ways in which the speaker can stream audio.
Apple Music– Users can ask Siri to play any song from the available 45 million songs on Apple Music after subscribing.
iTunes music- Songs, albums, and audiobooks purchased from the iTunes store can be asked to Siri to be played by Homepod users.
Cloud music library- Users can also ask Siri to play any songs uploaded to users’ cloud music library, including songs that are imported from other sources like CDs, that have Apple Music or iTunes match subscription.
Beats 1- Users can ask Siri to play Apple’s official radio station.
Podcasts- Any podcast episode from the iTunes podcast can be played directly by the users.
AirPlay- Users will also be able to play other audio from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac. AirPlay 2 which will be launched later this year is only required to stream audio from these sources to multiple HomePods.
It’s not much surprise to find that all of these sources draw music from Apple’s ecosystem. It is obvious that the Apple HomePod speakers will prioritize Apple-approved music but this could be hard news for those users who don’t dwell in Apple’s ecosystem to use HomePod regularly.
Siri’s commands will work with all music sources except for the content accessed via AirPlay. With this, it seems that Siri has limited integration with HomePod right now and Apple is likely to keep Siri controlling over music only on those that the company provides. AirPlay emerges to be the best way for users to stream music that is not controlled by Apple, such as Spotify or Pandora to a HomePod speaker.
The Apple smart speaker might have some trouble in getting through the market due to its high $349 price tag and its late entry to the smart speaker technology. Not only have Amazon and Google introduced smart speakers but they have also embraced the speaker with an affordable price tag of $49. Orders for the Apple HomePod speaker has already begun before its official launch on February 9 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.