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Alongside Monday’s public release of iOS 15.2, Apple has begun rolling out a corresponding HomePod Software to bring its smart speakers in line with the new features unveiled for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Most notably, iOS/iPadOS 15.2 and macOS 12.1 add support for the new Apple Music Voice Plan, a $4.99 Siri-only tier of Apple’s streaming music service that puts the entire catalog of 90 million tracks only a voice request away.
With HomePod Software 15.2, this new voice plan is also now available on both the HomePod mini and the original full-sized HomePod — the places where a voice-only Apple Music plan would be most at home.
Apple Music Voice Plan
To be clear, the new Apple Music Voice Plan has a few limitations, meaning it’s not for everybody. For example, you won’t get Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, Lossless Audio, lyrics, music videos, or even support for your own iCloud Music Library. In fact, the Music app in iOS/iPadOS 15.2 and macOS 12.1 will present a simplified interface that directs you to make all of your requests by voice.
When using the Apple Music Voice Plan, there’s no “For You” section, and you won’t be able to browse through Apple Music. Instead, if you want to find a specific song or album, you’ll need to call it up using Siri. Apple has made this a bit more practical, however, since Apple Music now includes over 250 mood and activity playlists, letting you easily call up appropriate music for just about any occasion, whether that’s a Christmas party, a bottomless brunch, or just something for hitting the books.
Since the Apple Music Voice Plan doesn’t support iCloud Music Library, it also won’t let you listen to your own personal tracks or playlists on your HomePod. To do that, you’ll either need to pony up $9.99/month for the full individual Apple Music plan (or get it as part of an Apple One bundle) or simply AirPlay it to your HomePod from another device.
Note that the Apple Music voice plan won’t prevent you from loading your own music library directly onto your iPhone or iPad using the macOS Music app (or iTunes in the case of Windows older macOS versions). After…