References to Google’s Chromecast have popped up in the code of the most recent version of Apple’s Apple Music app for Android, leading to speculation that the company might be laying the groundwork for future support of Chromecast devices. 9to5Google made the discovery upon digging into the APK file (the file type for Android apps) for the update.
The references to Chromecast aren’t very extensive — only a total of 16 have been found so far — but they are detailed enough that 9to5Google concluded, “Given its inclusion in the Android app, Chromecast support will likely allow a song playing in Apple Music on a phone to be sent to a Google Home speaker, Smart Display, Android TV, or Chromecast.”
Chromecast support within Apple Music would be a logical move. The service was added to Amazon’s Fire TV in March and Apple has been making it clear since the beginning of the year that it sees the expansion of device support as a critical part of its new, services-first strategy. This began with the announcement that AirPlay 2 would be appearing outside of the Apple hardware ecosystem for the first time, starting smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, and Vizio, plus Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. Then at the company’s March 25 event, it revealed that most of these same devices would be getting Apple’s newly redesigned TV app, the platform that will be used to give people access to its Apple TV Plus streaming subscription service on both Apple and non-Apple products.
Giving Apple Music the ability to stream from iOS and Android devices to Chromecast-compatible speakers seems like a small step compared to the much larger expansion of the company’s video services. The move will likely be reciprocated by Google. We reported earlier this year that Apple Music had been spotted as an item with the Google Home app’s list of available services (even though it was inactive). The option has since been removed, but obviously, Google is making its own behind-the-scenes changes that will eventually result in the Google Assistant being able to access Apple Music.
This trend of cross-device services compatibility is likely a long-term one. As companies like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Google, and others put a heavier emphasis on recurring revenues from subscription services, it will be crucial to have the ability to get those services on as many devices as possible. Apple realized this a long time ago when it first opened its iTunes software up to Windows users. According to Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, Jobs was initially against the idea, but eventually acknowledged it was the only way to get the Apple’s new iPod in the hands of more customers.