Apple Music Comes to Amazon Echo Devices

The Amazon Blog:

Apple Music subscribers will be able to enjoy Apple Music’s 50 million songs on Echo devices. Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artists, and albums—or any of the playlists made by Apple Music’s editors from around the world, covering many activities and moods. Customers will also be able to ask Alexa to stream expert-made radio stations centered on popular genres like Hip-Hop, decades like the 80s, and even music from around the world, like K-Pop. Just ask Alexa to play Beats 1 to hear Apple Music’s global livestream including in-depth artist interviews— all completely ad-free. Simply enable the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app and link your account to start listening.

This is something that not many thought we would ever see – Apple allowing access to their music service via a competitors home speaker range. Kudos to Apple for allowing this as the Amazon Echo range of home devices are more popular due to their more affordable price compared to the more expensive, but better quality speaker and thus sound quality, of the Apple HomePod. 

“It Sounded Like Cardboard”

David Pogue gets a sneak preview of the Apple HomePod:

In a devastatingly effective demo, Apple lines up four of these things: The Google Home Max ($400), Sonos One ($200), Amazon Echo ($100), and the HomePod. They’re volume-matched and rigged to an A/B/C/D switch, so a single song can hop from one to the other. (Apple even installed a halo backlight behind each speaker that illuminated to show you which one was playing.)

The HomePod sounded the best. Its bass, in particular, was amazing: full and deep, but also distinct and never muddy — you could hear the actual pitch of the bass notes, not just the thud. That, unsurprisingly, is where other small speakers have trouble.

The Amazon Echo is a much smaller, slimmer device, one-third the price, so it’s forgiven for sounding thin compared with the HomePod. The Sonos One came awfully close to the HomePod’s rich sound; you’d really have to hear the A/B test to declare a difference. The real shock was the Google Home Max, a massive, 12-pound machine that’s supposed to be all about the sound; it sounded like cardboard compared with the HomePod and Sonos.

So for audio quality, the HomePod truly is the best sounding device. It is surprising and damning that the Google Home Max did not sound good at all for such an expensive device.