Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered speakers can now natively play Apple Podcasts, making it far easier for iPhone owners to stream their favourite shows to the smart speaker range.
All Echo owners need to do is say “Alexa, play *show name* on Apple Podcasts” in order to get started, marking a departure from Apple’s previous desire to keep voice-controlled podcasts in-house.
Even more interestingly, Apple Podcasts can now be registered as the default podcasting platform within the Alexa application. That means if the user’s Apple ID is linked to the Alexa app then they will benefit from playback syncing across devices, enabling them to pick up where they left off.
In that instance, users will be able to say “Alexa, resume playing *show name* on Apple Podcasts.”
Some of this is definitely surprising and a significant softening of Apple’s previous stance. The company had kept this voice-control functionality to Siri and the HomePod.
However, we saw HomePod significantly discounted during the Black Friday sales and this could be a sign the company is less focused on the speaker for the time being.
Earlier this year Apple Music also became available on Echo speakers on the UK, following its launch in the US in late 2018. It enabled users to use commands like “Alexa play Today’s Hits on Apple Music” along with other voice commands pertaining to artists, songs, albums, playlists and stations.
Elsewhere today, Spotify announced its podcasts are also playing nice with the Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered speakers.
In a blog post, Spotify wrote: “In addition to requesting a specific podcast, users will be able to ask to restart an episode and pick up from where they left off in their Spotify app with Alexa just by saying, “Alexa, play the [podcast name] podcast. They can also request the latest episode, navigate to the previous or next episode, and even navigate by podcast time frame.”