Apple considering allowing third-party music apps like Spotify and Pandora on HomePod

Following criticism that Apple’s in-house software products get an unfair advantage over rival choices, the company is reportedly considering giving HomePod owners the ability to run third-party music software like Spotify or Pandora directly on their Siri-powered speaker.

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The Cupertino, California-based company is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps, including its top streaming rival Spotify Technology SA, on HomePods, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.c

Currently, HomePod supports Apple Music, in addition to live radio stations and relaxing sounds from the nature. However, folks want to stream Spotify, Pandora and the like directly on their speaker, without having to use AirPlay on an iOS device.

Although you can play Pandora or listen to other audio on the speaker by using AirPlay to wirelessly beam whatever audio is plain on your iOS device to the HomePod, that’s a much more cumbersome experience than streaming directly from the speaker.

No matter how you look at it, native support for third-party music apps is precisely what the product needs to truly shines and compete with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Last year, Stockholm-based Spotify submitted an antitrust complaint to the European Union, saying Apple squeezes rival services by imposing a third percent cut for subscriptions made via the App Store. Apple responded that Spotify wants the benefits of the App Store without paying for them. As part of its complaint, Spotify singled out the inability to run on the HomePod and become the default music player in Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant.

Strategy Analytics pegged HomePod’s share of the smart-speaker market to less than 5%.

Apple currently pre-installs 38 default apps on iPhones and iPads.

Apple is also considering giving rival apps more prominence on iPhones and iPads, with the Cupertino tech giant reportedly discussing whether or not to permit customers to set their favorite third-party email apps and web browsers as default choices on iOS 14.

Also under discussion at Apple is whether to let users set competing music services as the default with Siri on iPhones and iPads, the people said. Currently, Apple Music is the default music app. If the company changes the arrangement, a user would be able to play music from Spotify or Pandora automatically when asking Siri for a song.

No decisions have been made yet, according to the author.

If Apple implements the above features, conventional wisdom tells us that the company will almost certainly preview them at WWDC 2020 this summer before they ship to customers with an iOS 14 software update and its corresponding HomePod update.

Are you looking forward to these changes in iOS 14?

Let us know by posting your thoughts in the comments down below.