We've been hearing that Spotify is aiming to produce its own hardware for a few weeks now, and this latest news substantiates those rumors. A native voice search is being tested in the iOS app, pointing towards future integration with a Spotify-built smart speaker.
This was confirmed by a Spotify spokesperson to be "just a test for now," and it only seems to be popping up on iOS. If the test is available to you, a white bubble with a microphone icon will be on the bottom right of your screen when you're in the 'Search' tab. A video of how it works is attached above. Spotify did test a driving mode about eight months ago, but this is unrelated (there are separate files in the Android app).
— Hunter Owens (@owens) March 14, 2018
Voice search would not only be a significant feature addition to the Spotify app, but it could also be indicating that Spotify is planning to produce a smart speaker. The current offerings all use other voice assistants (Siri for Apple, Assistant for Google, Alexa for Amazon) with their own music services, but Spotify would be able to push its service with its own speaker.
With the impending move to become a publicly-traded company, a smart speaker could boost investors' confidence in the company. Plus, it'll be nice to see some more competition in the smart speaker space.