As one of dozens of new operating system features announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last month, the ability to start playing live radio stations directly from an iOS 13 iPhone or HomePod wasn’t expected to arrive until the fall. But some users are discovering that the new feature is already beginning to trickle out to users in Germany (via Macerkopf).
Apple has marketed the live radio feature as offering access to over 100,000 radio stations, in partnership with iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn. But at present the feature appears to be working solely with a selection of TuneIn stations — 12 live German radio stations are currently accessible via Siri requests on HomePods running software version 12.3, and the Apple Music app on iOS 12.3.1 devices.
While this could be just a region-specific test of the feature ahead of general availability, it points to the functionality as more of a server-side tweak than something requiring all-new code in iOS 13. It also suggests that additional live stations could become available as the clock moves closer to the new operating systems’ release dates or that the test will be abruptly switched off before iOS 13’s release.
The live radio feature is expected to make a full debut in iOS 13 for iPhones, iPadOS 13 for iPads, and HomePod Software 13 this fall, most likely in mid-September alongside the release of new iPhones. Until then, users can access similar functionality in third-party iPhone and iPad apps without direct operating system integration.