PSA: HomePod Supports Live Radio Requests, But Even UK Users Can’t Stream BBC Radio Stations

Apple has been rolling out HomePod support for live radio requests to Siri over the last few months, and now users in several countries are reporting success when asking their Apple smart speaker to play live radio stations.


After announcing the feature at WWDC in June, Apple said it would launch on September 30, but the company recently removed the date from its HomePod product page, suggesting an official global rollout is basically complete.

Apple began testing the live radio request feature in July, starting in Germany, but station requests to Siri on HomePod are now being routinely fulfilled in many countries including the U.S. and the U.K. HomePod owners should have around 100,000 radio stations to choose from, according to Apple, with the broadcast catalog drawn from iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn.

MacRumors has been testing the Siri feature on HomePod after updating to iOS 13.1.2, but it's still a bit finicky. Radio requests have to be specifically worded – without key words like "radio station" in the question, Siri will often revert to an Apple Music search. Also, only some users appear to be seeing a new Broadcast Radio section in the Music app's Radio tab that lists available stations.

In addition, HomePod owners in the United Kingdom who were hoping to listen to BBC Radio will be disappointed to learn that the British broadcaster has removed its flagship stations from the TuneIn catalog, after the U.S.-based radio app refused to share information on its listeners.


The BBC now wants people to access its content through BBC apps and via Alexa so that it can collect analytics and better understand what people are consuming, but unfortunately that has left only a handful of local BBC stations and the BBC World Service accessible through HomePod.

According to Apple's website, additional HomePod features specific to iOS 13, including multi-user support, music handoff, and Ambient Sounds, will not launch until "later this fall."

Related Roundups: HomePod, iOS 13, iPadOS
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "PSA: HomePod Supports Live Radio Requests, But Even UK Users Can't Stream BBC Radio Stations" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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New ‘BBC Sounds’ Mobile App Set to Replace BBC iPlayer Radio

The BBC is releasing a new free mobile app today called BBC Sounds, which brings together the broadcaster's extensive library of live and on-demand radio, music, and podcasts within a single audio player interface.

The BBC says the app has been designed to learn from the user's listening habits and introduce them to shows and podcasts that they might not otherwise know about, as Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, explains:

"Every user's experience of BBC Sounds will be unique as it's designed to learn from your listening habits, providing one-tap access to the latest episodes of your favorite BBC podcasts and radio shows and introducing you to new audio you wouldn't otherwise have discovered from the 80,000 (yes, really) hours available."
This content is delivered in a "Recommended for you" section, which showcases 10 on-demand shows at any one time, and automatically refreshes based on recent listening.

The live radio section of the app retains the virtual tuning dial used in the BBC iPlayer Radio app, which Sounds will eventually replace, and acts as a portal to all of the BBC's 18 national and 40 local stations.

There are also hand-picked collections of podcasts and on-demand music shows on offer to match the listener's mood, like Funny Chat, Upgrade Your Life, Live Sessions, and Dance Mixes.


Podcast and show categories cover the full gamut of content available, such as hip hop, classical, crime, and science and technology, while a "Continue Listening" section highlights podcasts and radio shows that have only been listened to part-way through, as well as next episodes to consider.

Users can add any individual episode or clip to the "My List" section to listen to later. In addition, subscribing to podcasts and programs generates a personalized feed of the latest episodes via the "My Sounds" section.

The BBC says there are several additional features in the pipeline for Sounds this year, including downloads to enable offline listening, so expect updates in the months ahead.


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Apple CarPlay Support Comes to BBC iPlayer Radio App

The BBC today updated its Radio iPlayer app to support Apple CarPlay, allowing vehicle drivers with the feature to listen to BBC radio more safely when behind the wheel.

A simplified touch interface has been adopted for the new in-car version, designed to be easy to fast-forward in a show or skip through entire episodes.


Apart from CarPlay and Android Auto support, the update also brings additional features to help make radio listening a more personalized in-car experience.

The new app interface is split into four sections titled Following, Listen Later, Downloads, and Stations. The Following section gathers favorited shows for easy access from within CarPlay, Listen Later lists shows tagged by users for future listening, while the Downloads section keeps shows ready for listening offline in areas with poor signal.

The BBC iPlayer Radio app is a free download for U.K. listeners available from the App Store. [Direct Link]


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