Apple Music hits the Amazon Echo. Is the cold war over?

In an early holiday gift to owners of an Amazon Echo speaker, it seems like the cold war between the retailer and Apple might be thawing as Amazon announced that Apple Music will now be available as an option on its smart speakers starting the week of December 17.

The announcement, which was made exclusively to USA Today, comes about a year after the Amazon Prime Video App was made available through Apple TV, and less than a month after Amazon added Pandora Premium to a lineup of music services that also includes Spotify, Deezer, and Tidal.

The competition between Apple Music and Amazon Music has been notoriously fierce as both services battle it out to bring the most subscribers into their music ecosystem. But the two corporations might have also called a truce in service of fighting a common enemy, namely the global streaming titleholder Spotify, which is rapidly closing in on 90 million paid subscribers.

The agreement closes a long-standing loophole that forced Apple Music users to pair their smartphones or tablets to an Echo through Bluetooth in order to play music. More importantly, the agreement enables Echo owners to use voice commands such as “Alexa, play All I Want for Me is You’ by Owl John,” or “Alexa, play Beats 1 radio” in order to get their holiday party started.

It was pretty clear from comments made by Apple executives and engineers that the partnership is a pretty big crack in a very big wall.

“One of the things we’ve always believed with music — and this goes back to the iTunes days — is to try to make the music services as widely available as possible,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for Internet Software and services, told USA Today. “We started by making it available on Windows, and you remember when hell froze over. We’ve had it available on Sonos devices (and) Android devices. We love the ability of people who have Echos to be able to listen and have the full experience of Apple Music on their devices.”

There’s no additional fee for porting Apple Music over to your Echo. Everybody gets three months free, after which the service costs $10 for each individual subscription, discounts to $5 for students, or can be offered under a family umbrella plan that covers up to six users for $15. Users who have an Echo Show or Echo Spot, Amazon’s smart speakers that also have visual displays, will also see album art, although Apple hasn’t ported over the ability to see song lyrics, which is available for some songs on its own app.

While the move goes a long way toward bringing smart home users in different product ecosystems closer together, it’s certainly not a unified field yet. So far, Amazon Music Service isn’t available through Apple’s struggling Siri-controlled Homepod speaker, although Apple says last week’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales gave the Homepod its best week since the device was launched in February.

Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.
Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.
Music

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.
Home Theater

A year after U.S. release, Apple HomePod aims for success in China

Approximately one year after the Apple HomePod launch in the U.S., consumers in China will be able to buy Apple's smart speaker in early 2019. Customers cannot pre-order the HomePod, but the device product page details its audio technology.
Deals

Walmart is offering Google Home starter kits for under $50

If you're hoping to save big on Google Home devices before all the holiday deals come to an end, there's no better time than right now. Walmart is slashing prices on smart home starter kits for a limited time.
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Deals

Clean up with robot vac, upright vacuum, and spot and stain remover deals

Whether you're gift shopping or need to get your house ready for the holidays, deals on household cleaning appliances are always welcome. We found Walmart's best deals on robot vacs, upright vacuum cleaners, and spot and stain cleaners.
Smart Home

How to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant

Nothing say "holiday" like talking to Santa. Here's how to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant, whether he's helping you create a playlist or checking to see if you've been naughty or nice this week.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market
Deals

Breathe easy, stay warm with Amazon’s one-day deal on a Dyson air purifier fan

Dyson is a leader in bringing consumers the latest in heating, cooling, and air purification. Its Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 does all three — and for today only, it’s on sale on Amazon for $359. That’s $241 off the suggested retail…
Smart Home

LG is rolling out the barrels at CES 2019 with a craft beer machine

Looking to get into the beer making game? With the help of LG, you can become a brewmaster at home. The electronics maker is rolling out the LG HomeBrew, an at-home beer making machine at CES 2019.
Deals

Save big on these Braun electric razors and women’s epilators

Amazon and Walmart are currently offering limited-time deals for Braun electric razors and women's epilators. If you plan to make your way through all the festive parties this year with fresh smooth these tools will help.
Deals

The best air fryer deals you can still snag before Christmas

Christmas is closing in on us fast, but you still have a little bit of time left for last-minute kitchen gifts. We've searched the depths of Amazon and Walmart to bring you the best air fryer deals going on right now.
Deals

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.