If you are a fan of podcasts, and want a quick daily rundown, then a new feature baked into Siri and the newest (and still in beta) version of iOS should be a welcomed addition.
Apple recently seeded the third developer beta of iOS 11.2.5, and, along with it, brought a new feature that will let Siri play daily podcasts from a variety of different sources when you ask about the news. As reported by 9to5Mac, Siri will now play the daily podcasts from the likes of The Washington Post, CNN, and many others.
There are some limitations, though. The feature appears bent towards the HomePod smart speaker, which should be launching some time in the early stages of this year. To that point, the feature is limited to where Siri assumes you are not looking at a display. The HomePod, meanwhile, does support the spoken query, “Hey Siri, give me the news.”
“Also interesting is that each show doesn’t appear to be a feed in the Apple Podcasts directory despite playing in Apple’s Podcast app on iOS. Separately, Apple Music’s Radio feature includes a News and Sports section with providers including BBC, Bloomberg, CBS, and ESPN, but the two features do not appear to be connected.”
The new feature should go a long way to making the HomePod a daily use item, and not merely to play music. Having a brief rundown of the news, which includes podcasts, should be a nice bonus, especially for folks who have used smart speakers from the likes of Google and Amazon, both of which offer similar features with their own options.
It is only present in the iOS 11.2.5 beta, and does not currently work on the public releases of the mobile operating system.
iOS 11.2.5 is now in its third developer beta stage, so the public release should happen soon.
The HomePod has stiff competition, and with its reliance on Apple’s first-party features, apps, and services, it will need these types of features to stand out. Or to have a chance at competing, really. It’s good to see that Apple is preparing something like this ahead of the smart speaker’s arrival, and it will be interesting to see if Apple can keep up with the smart speaker competition moving forward.