Can I Play NPR on Apple HomePod?

Can Apple HomePod play NPR?

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Apple’s newest product is HomePod, a “smart” speaker for listening to music and accessing information using voice commands.

The design of HomePod is simple and clean. The device looks soft and approachable, with an organic, “we come in peace” alien appearance.

I’m intrigued by the idea of a smart speaker from Apple, because I’ve never tried an Amazon Echo or Google Home, the smart speaker competitors to HomePod.

I have tried Google Assistant, which I found to be more useful than Siri.

HomePod’s best feature, according to the reviews (and here’s a good summary of them) is its excellent sound quality and microphone sensitivity.

When it comes to sound quality, HomePod apparently makes mincemeat of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It also outdoes Sonos’ speakers with a more sophisticated sound quality. Apple seems to be aiming at the high end class of speaker brands like Harmon Kardon, Infinity and JBL.

On the other hand, HomePod’s flaws are related to Siri’s shortcomings when compared to other personal assistants, such as Google Assistant and Alexa1

It’s also pricey… But only in comparison to some of Amazon’s and Google’s personal assistant speakers.

It’s not really expensive if you’re an Apple fan, because it’s positioning HomePod as an alternative to the high end brands, which Google and Amazon are not. So, it’s easy to rationalize if you use Apple products and/or if you care a lot about high quality sound.

That said, at $349 each, you could buy two Sonos Ones for the price of one HomePod right now.

Can You Listen To NPR On Apple HomePod?

I don’t listen to a ton of music. My morning routine consists of listening to the news from NPR, so I was wondering if I can do this through HomePod.

Can I play NPR on HomePod?Turns out you can… I reached out to Apple this morning and was told that it’s easy to do and is accomplished through AirPlay.

Unfortunately, though, if you don’t have Apple Music, you can’t simply say “Hey Siri, play NPR”…

You would play NPR through the HomePod the same way you can listen to music or the NPR app or a podcast through your iPhone, or AirPods by using the iOS device with AirPlay to connect to a HomePod.

Your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Mac work with AirPlay, depending on what’s playing at the time.

Out of the box, HomePod wants to pair with the nearest iOS device. This is how the setup process starts.

Once set up, to choose the HomePod, simply open AirPlay from either your iOS device or your OSX device and choose the HomePod as the output source for sound.

What Else Can You Do On a HomePod?

For a full list of all the features, commands and capabilities of the new Apple HomePod, you can download the free User Guide from Apple.com. The guide includes the following sections which can help you navigate HomePod’s growing number of skills:

  • Welcome
  • Get Started
    • Welcome to HomePod
    • Set up
    • Control HomePod
    • HomePod settings
    • AirPlay
    • Privacy and security
  • Apple Music
    • Listen to music
    • Control playback
  • Apple Podcasts
  • News
  • Control your home
  • Assistant
    • Ask Siri
    • Messages, Reminders, and Notes
  • Support and safety

For instance, if you do have Apple Music, and would prefer to listen to a podcast from NPR, such as Planet Money, the HomePod User Guide offers instructions for how to ask Siri to play that podcast, as follows:

To listen to a podcast. Say, for example, “Hey Siri, play the podcast Planet Money.”

To subscribe to a podcast. Say “Hey Siri, subscribe to this podcast” to add it to your library. When new episodes are available, they appear in Listen Now in the Podcasts app on your iOS device and Apple TV.

To change the playing speed. Say “Hey Siri, play this faster,” or “Hey Siri, play this slower” to listen to news and podcasts at a pace you’re most comfortable with.

Footnotes

  1. #firstworldproblems