When Apple unveiled the HomePod mini last month, the company showed off a long-awaited feature: the ability to use it with third-party music services. And as of now, Pandora is the first third-party music app to work with Apple’s existing HomePod as well as the upcoming HomePod mini. An update to Pandora’s iOS app is rolling out that lets you add the app the HomePod. If you’ve updated the Pandora app, you’ll find a new item in the settings menu: Connect with HomePod. From there, it just takes a few taps to give Pandora permission to work with the speaker.
This means you can ask Siri to do things like “play New Indie Radio on Pandora” and it’ll start playing your station directly on the speaker. Before, you could send audio from apps on your iPhone to the HomePod through AirPlay 2, which worked well enough, but this marks the first time you can initiate playback from services besides Apple’s own. It should be possible to set another music app as the default on the HomePod, as well, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do that. The Pandora app says you can manage settings in the iOS Home app, but I haven’t seen any settings for managing other services there yet.
At last month’s event, Apple showed Pandora as an example along with Amazon Music, so it’s safe to imagine we’ll see Amazon’s integration launch before long. But it seems that any developer can integrate this into their music or audio app — which means we could theoretically see Spotify do the same thing. And since Apple will let you assign another music service as default, the HomePod and HomePod mini should soon be on more equal footing with speakers from Amazon and Google.
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