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Apple's HomePod is finally getting support for 'third-party music services'... at some point


Rumors of a diminutive or low-cost HomePod variant of sorts have been swirling pretty much ever since Apple’s rookie smart speaker effort was unveiled more than three years ago at the 2017 edition of the Worldwide Developers Conference. But with the virtual WWDC 2020 event focused entirely on software updates, we obviously didn’t get a new Amazon Echo and Google Home alternative today either.

Of course, that still doesn’t mean the Cupertino-based tech giant is ready to throw in the towel in this thriving industry, reportedly preparing not one but two different HomePod models for official announcements and commercial releases by the end of the year.
While waiting for that to happen, we actually caught a glimpse (or rather, the folks at MacRumors did) of a major software feature presumably coming alongside the next members of Apple’s smart speaker family. Without going into any specifics whatsoever, the company revealed as part of a HomeKit presentation slide that “third-party music services” are in the pipeline.

Those unfamiliar with the HomePod (and Apple’s often too rigid “walled garden” strategy) might be shocked to hear that’s not a thing yet, with the likes of Spotify and Pandora essentially unsupported by one of the world’s best smart speakers at the moment. Sure, you can technically stream your music from these platforms on the HomePod if you pair it to your iPhone or iPad using AirPlay, but that’s not exactly what we’d call a seamless and convenient experience.

Fortunately, Apple seems ready to properly embrace third-party music streaming services at long last, although unfortunately, there are no details on names, dates, or the execution itself just yet. In other words, we can’t be 100 percent certain the HomePod will be made to work natively with Spotify or Pandora anytime soon. After all, there are more “third-party music services” around than you can count on the fingers of both your hands.

Still, one thing is pretty much etched in stone. At some point in the not-so-distant future, HomePod owners will be able to directly ask Siri to play tunes from a different source than Apple Music, and no matter how the company goes about implementing this feature, that’s progress.

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