Apple Finally Clears Up HomePod Sources

There has been a lot of speculation about what the HomePod will be able to play, notable regarding the iCloud Music Library. Apple has finally updated its HomePod specifications to list all sources that can be played on the HomePod:

  • Apple Music1
  • iTunes Music Purchases
  • iCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription
  • Beats 1 Live Radio
  • Podcasts
  • AirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac

Note that, with the exception of AirPlay at the end of the list, these are all sources that you can control with Siri, the only way to control the HomePod other than by streaming over AirPlay. The lack of details about this led a lot of people to assume that you would not be able to stream music from your iCloud Music Library. As I wrote here, I thought this limitation would be because Siri has a lot of trouble playing music that’s not on Apple Music, or in the iTunes Store; I still am curious to see how reliable it is.

I would have expected the HomePod to be able to play your music library directly, without Siri or without streaming via AirPlay. It should be able to load your library and let you control it with the Remote app on an iOS device.

One interesting feature is peer-to-peer AirPlay, which means that an iOS device or a Mac can send music over AirPlay even if it’s not on the wi-fi network that the device uses.