Starting today, Apple Podcasts is available through Amazon Alexa-enabled devices like Echo speakers. People just have to say, “Alexa, play (insert show name here) on Apple Podcasts” to get a program. Apple Podcasts can be set as the default podcast player from the Alexa app, too, so Amazon will default to checking Apple Podcasts first whenever a show is requested. If users link their Apple ID to their Alexa app, they’ll also be able to pick up where they left off listening in the Podcasts app. The command would be: “Alexa, resume playing (show name here) on Apple Podcasts.” Spotify also announced today that its users would be able to ask Alexa to play podcasts from its platform.
Both Spotify and Apple linking podcasts up to Alexa is interesting in light of Spotify gunning for Apple’s podcast dominance. The platform has always been the main way for people to access podcasts. Other apps are used, too, of course, but in scattered popularity. Spotify presents a formidable competitor to Apple, especially with its exclusive shows and cross-device availability. Apple Podcasts comes preloaded on iPhones, but it isn’t available for Android devices. It’s newly available for the web.
It’s also interesting that Apple is ceding some of its HomePod functionality to Amazon. The HomePod offers syncing with Apple Podcasts, which was unique and potentially a selling point. Now that anyone can access Apple Podcasts from any Alexa device, the HomePod is less special. This is potentially an acknowledgment that a Siri skillset isn’t going to be what sells the HomePod going forward.