Apple's official website advertises the use of Apple Music to stream media files on the upcoming HomePod speaker. A new report, however, suggests that iTunes Match subscribers can use Siri to stream content from their iCloud Music Library on to the HomePod. Apple's upcoming Siri-powered smart speaker will go on sale starting February 9 in the US for a price of $349 (roughly Rs. 22,200) , the UK for a price of GBP 319 (roughly Rs. 28,500), and Australia for a price of AUD 499 (roughly Rs. 25,700).
According to a detailed breakdown by iMore, HomePod users with a subscription to only iTunes Match will be able to access their entire library on the smart speaker. The report also mentions that if you do not have a subscription to any of the two streaming services, you will only be able to make limited Siri requests and stream other audio via AirPlay control.
Apple's iTunes Match is a music syncing service with a yearly fee of $24.99 (roughly Rs. 1,600). It allows matching and uploading up to 100,000 audio tracks from offline Mac libraries to the iCloud Music Library. These tracks can then be streamed and downloaded with DRM-free access.
With a subscription to iTunes Match, users will be able to ask Siri to play songs, albums, playlists for your iCloud Music Library, podcasts from the iTunes podcasts collection, read the news, stream Beats 1 and other live radio stations, and play any audio file purchased through your Apple ID connected to the HomePod. Additionally, users will also be able to stream content from iOS and Mac devices using AirPlay.
The iMore report also reveals that the HomePod supports FLAC files while iTunes still does not. This is mostly because you can stream FLAC files on to the speaker from different sources.
AirPlay 2 support and stereo sound for the HomePod will be rolled out later this year. The smart speaker also comes with Bluetooth 5.0. The latest iOS 11.2.5 adds support for HomePod and enables Siri news reading skills.