Update #2: iMore says they have received clarification that iTunes Match does work with Siri. Original story below.

Update: John Gruber says he’s heard from “a friend seeded with HomePod” that it works with tracks that are not on Apple Music or purchased from the iTunes Store “if you have iCloud Music Library enabled.” This is still a bit unclear as to whether those tracks fully integrate and work with Siri. Ideally, Apple will confirm the functionality here sooner rather than later, because right now it seems that nobody knows what works and what doesn’t work.

Despite the fact that HomePod went up for preorder on Friday, there are still a few details about the device left unknown. While we explained last week that HomePod can play purchased iTunes Music, podcasts, and stream Beats 1, we couldn’t confirm how the smart speaker handled iTunes Match content via iCloud Music Library…

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

iMore this weekend published a full walk through of how HomePod handles content from Apple Music, iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library, and other sources. The most notable tidbit of information comes for iTunes Match subscribers.

The report explains that iTunes Match subscribers are treated “identically to non-Apple Music subscribers.” What this means is you can ask Siri to play podcasts, the news, audio content purchased via iTunes, and Beats 1. Thus, if you have songs stored in your iCloud Music Library, you won’t be able to ask Siri to play them, but rather  you’ll have to manually stream the songs via AirPlay from your iOS or Mac device.

Essentially, iTunes Match content works the same as music you add to your iTunes library that was not acquired through a purchase. As we explained last week:

If you add music to your home iTunes library that was not acquired through a purchase, HomePod will not be able to access it. It appears HomePod doesn’t have Home Sharing, which would enable that kind of feature.

This, of course, is disappointing since iTunes Match is a subscription-based service. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Siri isn’t necessarily able to detect different tracks with incomplete metadata or between various versions of the same song. And that’s often the type of content stored in iCloud Music Library.

As a quick recap, here’s what we know:

  • Apple Music subscribers get everything, including Siri requests for playing songs by name, genre, artist, and more, as well as news, podcasts, Beats 1, and other radio stations.
  • Non Apple Music subscribers, on the other hand, can play music they’ve purchased via iTunes, as well as podcasts and Beats 1. Likewise, the same situation applies to iTunes Match subscribers.

It’s likely that we’ll continue to learn more about the HomePod’s intricacies as time progresses. The smart speaker will arrive to preorder customers and be available to everyone on February 9th.

Does the revelation that iTunes Match subscribers miss out on certain features affect your opinion of the HomePod? Let us know what you think down in the comments.


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