HomePod users can listen to songs with not only Apple Music, but also third-party services like Pandora, Deezer, and iHeartRadio. However, the list of apps compatible with the HomePod is really small, but Apple is trying to change this. Starting with iOS 17, users will be able to ask Siri to play media on the HomePod using apps installed on their iPhone and iPad.
HomePod to work with iPhone apps via Siri with iOS 17
As teased by the company at a WWDC 2023 session, the Siri and AirPlay updates now allow a user to ask their HomePod to play media on an app installed on their iOS device, even if that app doesn’t have native HomePod support. For that, the iOS app must support the SiriKit API, which lets users control it through Siri.
“Once HomePod processes a request, a SiriKit intent is sent to the iPhone, where Siri starts your app and AirPlays content back to the speaker,” Apple explains. In other words, Siri on the HomePod will use your iPhone to automatically play what you have requested via AirPlay.
While HomePod apps can run natively even when your device is not nearby, using iPhone and iPad apps through Siri will require the iOS device to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the HomePod. Apple says that “any app supporting SiriKit Media Intents today will be able to use this capability with no additional changes.”
This integration will work with music apps, audiobooks, podcasts, radio, and meditation. In some cases, commands to like or add that media to your library will also work. “Everything your app can do on iOS today will work on HomePod. For example, app users can ask to play artists, albums, songs, music genres, and hits.”
Siri will use voice recognition to route requests to that user’s device when there’s more than one person registered with the Home app. This is a big change to make HomePod even more useful for people who don’t subscribe to Apple Music, which comes included in every Apple device.
Spotify, for example, still doesn’t provide native support for the HomePod, but this feature will let you ask Siri to play songs using Spotify since the iPhone app works with the SiriKit API.
In addition to the Siri updates, Apple also says AirPlay is more reliable with iOS 17. The company details that iOS now understands your listening habits to intelligently suggest that you use AirPlay when there’s a compatible speaker nearby.
The new Siri experience is part of iOS 17, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, and HomePod Software 17. These software are now available to developers as beta and will be released to the public this fall. A public beta is expected to be released by July. More details can be found on the Apple Developer website.
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