Alexa has gained a new ability, and Echo owners with an iPhone will get the biggest boost

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Amazon has rolled out a new ability to its clever Alexa voice assistant, which is found in its hugely-popular Amazon Echo smart speaker range, Fire TV streaming dongles, and Fire tablets. From this weekend, Alexa fans will be able to ask the voice-controlled helper to stream shows from Apple Podcasts – the default podcast player on iPhone and iPads.

This is the latest in a string of collaborations between Apple and the Seattle-based retail giant. Alexa is already able to stream music from an Apple Music account, including your custom playlists, songs purchased from iTunes, and streaming-only albums and radio stations. Apple TV is available on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, which lets viewers stream exclusive movies and shows from Apple TV+ as well as rentals and purchases from their iTunes library. And now, Apple Podcasts is available on Amazon’s platforms.

To get started, you’ll need to open the Alexa app and link your Apple ID. If you’ve already done this to enable Apple Music, you shouldn’t have to go through the process again. After that, you’ll need to speak the magic words to Alexa to get started.

Here are a few common voice commands you might want to try with your Amazon Echo or Fire TV:

  • Alexa, play The Adam Buxton Podcast on Apple Podcasts
  • Alexa, play the latest episode of Today in Focus on Apple Podcasts
  • Alexa, resume No Such Thing as a Fish on Apple Podcasts
  • Alexa, fast forward 30 seconds
  • Alexa, next episode

If you use Apple Podcasts for all of your on-demand shows, you’ll probably want to set it as your preferred podcast provider with Alexa, by setting Apple Podcasts as your default podcast provider in the Alexa app. To do so, open the Alexa app, go to Settings, select Music & Podcasts, and link/manage new services.

Then, each time you request a podcast, Alexa will prioritise playing it from Apple Podcasts if that show or episode is available.

It also means you can drop the “on Apple Podcasts” part of the suggested voice commands above.

Of course, Amazon now operates its own rival service to Apple Podcasts. Back in September, Amazon Music confirmed the arrival of podcasts in the UK in all tiers of its Amazon Music service at no additional cost. That means customers who stream with the free Amazon Music tier, as well as those who pay for the High Definition quality streaming will all be able to access the library of on-demand content.

As well as the library available in Apple Podcasts, Amazon has commissioned a number of exclusive shows. These are designed to help differentiate the service from its rivals and is a similar approach to Spotify, which has acquired some of the most popular audio shows and dramas on the planet for its streaming service. Amazon has roped-in creators including DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, Dan Patrick, and more for its shows.

Amazon Music customers can access podcasts in the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android, on Amazon Echo devices right now.

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