Siri continues to improve in small yet meaningful ways, with the latest new feature it has gained likely to be aimed squarely at the as yet unreleased HomePod smart speaker.
As of the latest iOS 11.2.5 beta, Apple has added support that allows Siri to stream a news podcast when asked about the news. The feature currently defaults to a daily news podcast by The Washington Post, but can also be altered to take its news from Fox News, CNN, or NPR depending on preference.
Interestingly, the way this command is invoked currently changes what happens. For example, invoking Siri on an iOS device by pressing a hardware button and then asking for the news will result in an on-screen listing of the current events. However, invoking Siri via the “Hey Siri,” command and then asking for the news will result in the daily news podcast being instantly streamed. This appears to suggest that Apple will default to audio feedback only when Siri believes attention is not being given to a display, such as when driving or when using, you guessed it, a HomePod.
If Apple does indeed intend the feature to be used on a HomePod only then it is possible it will be removed from iOS for iPhones and iPads before iOS 11.2.5 makes its way into the hands of the general public, if only because the current way two different results can occur after asking the same question could potentially cause more confusion than it is worth.
Apple’s HomePod was originally due to arrive this past December, with Apple delaying the smart speaker at the eleventh hour. We do not know when it will arrive at this point, but it looks like we can definitely expect streaming podcasts to be part of its feature set – at least when it comes to daily news.
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