Apple and podcasts are nearly synonymous. They have been intertwined from the outset of the genre, as the very name podcast is derived from Apple’s first major consumer electronics hit- the iPod. With all of that history, it seems a little surprising that Apple never ventured into the space that they gave an early home to and later helped to foster with a prominent position in iTunes. However, according to recent report from Bloomberg, they are about to do just that.
According to both noted developer Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo of 9to5Mac, both of whom are known for spelunking through iOS and macOS betas for all kinds of goodies, iTunes is about to get busted up. Considering the mass market success of the iPod went hand-in-hand with the arrival of iTunes, this is pretty big news.
Bradley Chambers at 9to5Mac has a very interesting article today about podcasting that is well worth reading in full. While I have listened to a lot of tech and sports podcasts over the last 12 years, and still do today, I have to admit that I’ve never known much about the history of the medium. This article gives a great synopsis of the early days before I started paying attention to podcasts.
The HomePod is really good at a few things. Unfortunately, working in a hotel room with hotel WiFi is NOT one of them. Just like the Apple Watch, that pesky interstitial WiFi login screen trips it up, which I guess shouldn’t be surprising. I’m going to attempt using Personal Hotspot sometime down the road and see if this can be bypassed. Until then, here are a few more observations on Apple’s new toy.
Yesterday’s Podcasts app caught my interest with its note about Siri integration. If you’ve got the app installed and a few podcasts downloaded, you can now command Siri to start playing them for you. You can make a general request like “play podcasts”, but also get more specific, like “play Welcome to Night Vale” (which is a hilarious podcast, by the way).
This isn’t anything terribly new to frequent users of the iOS music app. After all, you can already do this with artists, albums, and song titles. However, this does mark the first time I’ve seen an app update include Siri integration — which is a pretty big surprise to me, as all previous Siri-related updates I know of happened alongside major iOS releases.
I’m hoping this is a sign that Apple is starting to re-think their stance on Siri. We have a lot to gain by making more apps and functions accessible via Siri, and I’m really hoping to hear more about this in June at WWDC.