9to5 Mac sorted through Apple WWDC slides and found one revealing that the company’s smart speaker, HomePod, will open up to allow non-Apple streaming music services. Doing so would represent an important strategic change.
HomePod’ exclusivity to Apple Music is in line with Apple’s famously closed ecosystem, a product culture that has served the company well. But as HomePod remains distantly in the shadow of Amazon’s Alexa platform/devices, and Google Assistant (plus Nest devices), it appears that Apple will try to broaden HomePod adoption by bringing its excellent audio performance into services like Spotify and Pandora.
But Spotify and Pandora would not live within HomePad in the same way they do in Alexa and Google. 9to5Mac observes that a basic Siri request will bring up Apple Music, and that Spotify and Pandora would be invoked by AirPlaying a stream from another device — sort of integration, once removed.
Apple is also planning a HomePod Mini — which will obviously be smaller, presumably with reduced fidelity and price tag.