Apple Music makes its big debut today on 3 main platforms iOS, OS X, and Windows. This signifies Apple’s official move into the music streaming business since its acquired Beats. The streaming service will offer a 3-month free trial & proceed to cost $10 a month following the trial. The highly talked about service will feature millions of songs in its library & focus on some other aspects such as radio through Beats One, Connecting fans & artists, and music curation.
All that said how do you go about getting Apple Music on your specific platform?
Currently Apple’s rollout of the music service will be delayed till an unannounced date for said platforms. So you’ll have to hang tight if you want to try it out.
For all iOS users be it iPhone, iPod, or iPad its as simple as an iOS update. Going into your Settings, General, and Software Update will prompt for an iOS 8.4 update that will be required to get the all new Apple Music app. After updating you’ll be presented with the new stock app that will allow you to sign up via your Apple ID or if your a previous Beats Music subscriber you can simply login through there importing all music, playlists, and so on.
Mac users will have to run the update via iTunes to get access to the service. Specifically iTunes 12.2. At the time of launch iTunes servers are all over the place preventing many from updating. Be patient as Apple sorts out the update & pushes it across to all OS X users. The same can be said for Windows users, you’ll need to have iTunes on your PC & update it to the latest version once the server situation is sorted in order to get access to Apple Music.
Read more about my thoughts on the Apple Music service here & enjoy then newest player in the streaming game. With a 3-month free trial you’ll surely be able to test it out to see if it’ll take place as your new go to streaming platform & or replace services such as Spotify or Tidal.
At WWDC 2015 Apple announced their all new music service “Apple Music”. A competitor in the streaming space that would compete with services like Spotify & Tidal. However one other competitor it’d have to take on would be the very industry itself. It’s no secret that streaming isn’t in the best interest as far as revenues go for artist/labels. Many artists have very vocal opinions on this such as the famously known artist Taylor Swift. Even having removed her music from Spotify to show support.
Music Is Art, and Art Should be Paid for -Taylor Swift
Taylor took the same stance with that of Apple’s streaming service last night as she published a open letter to Apple on her Tumblr. The letter focused on how she wouldn’t be releasing her music via the service & also centered on the idea that Apple wouldn’t be paying artists for the 3-month trial period they’d be offering. That it would mainly effect new artists on the platform trying to etch out a living & that there work shouldn’t go unnoticed despite Apple claiming the revenue would be made up from paying customers in the months to come & through other avenues.
This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.
As the internet ranted & raved about her open letter & dislike for the policies Apple on the other hand responded within 24 hours. Eddy Cue Apple’s VP of internet software took to Twitter & tweeted the following:
Now I’m sure this isn’t something that just Taylor Swift had been complaining about. Indie artists, other famous icons, and so on have all been vocal on the streaming platform approach & how it should reply to artists. However you can’t doubt that in this case Swift had some influence in changing Apple’s mind.
Whether or not this means we’ll see her library hit Apple Music is to early to be determined. Apple Music comes out June 30th for everyone to use free for 3 months while artists will be receiving payment. I agree on the stance that a company like Apple should be able to supplement artists with no problem or hit to their financials. Just like their developers they need to take care of their artists indie & main stream alike. However I do also believe the industry needs to change to see the consumers point of view & how streaming services & other forms of consuming content are on the rise. While people still buy music through iTunes & not just albums anymore or physical media they need to realize this change & develop monetization platforms around it. Now lets be honest main stream artists aren’t directly being effected as they generate millions & majority of their income from tours etc.
There is still a lot of change that has to go on for the industry to adapt this change & for other artists to support these platforms. But in Apple’s case this is one decision that should have been made from the get go.
To Taylor, thank you for speaking on the behalf of those who don’t have as much a voice & influence. It just goes to show the impact the internet & a blog post for that matter has in 2015.
Following WWDC main keynote Tim Cook took the stage to wrap up & announce the famous Steve Jobs tagline “One more thing…” That one more thing being the Apple Music service. This has been highly talked about since Apple purchased Beats back in 2014 for around $3 Billion.
So Cook takes the stage and highlights the three part music system. Breaking down the music streaming service, 24/7 online radio station, and a platform to connect artists & fans, all in one place. That said I wanted to highlight my thoughts on the upcoming service focusing on the good, bad, ugly. To give some context I’ve been recently playing the field with the music streaming services. Currently subscribed to Spotify Premium, Tidal Hi-Fi Subscription, and of course using iTunes to purchase albums/music now & again.
Starting off with the absolute worst. The presentation in itself was just truly hard to watch over. It felt rushed on Apple’s end & involved a lot of talking around & saying a lot without saying much at all. Not focusing on the key things that will separate Apple’s Music service from the rest. It hyped up a lot of the artistry & not enough about the music, standalone features, etc. Acting as if the features they have a revolutionary & groundbreaking when in reality they’re nothing new.
The catalogue is arguably the most integral part of a streaming service & with a service like iTunes being the most popular online marketplace for music you’d expect a huge library. Apple Music is offering just that with around 30 million songs readily available. This isn’t the entire iTunes library of course as Apple is still to working out deals to get as much music streamable as possible. However this is about on par with Spotify’s library its number one competitor really at this point.
Apple already has millions of billing information within its Apple ID system making that much more easier for iOS/OS X users to sign up. Never underestimate people’s ability to simply sign up to what they’re already tied into.
Apple really wants to make their music service widely known & thus they’re making it available from iOS to Android & Windows. Though this goes both ways as there are limitations on the Android end, so we’re not getting a truly equal experience. On top of that the service will be available to 100 countries versus Spotify’s 58.
The service will allow for professional & independent artist alike to upload their music to the streaming service. Surely there will be a set of standards to get verified for the service but this does mean that its not limited to just the big labels out there.
The Family plan is simply great. six users for $15 we’ll surely see people take advantage of this whether or not they have six people in their family.
Apple Music will not be offering a free ad-supported model. With competitors like Spotify already having the advantage the free model makes a zero cost of entry highly appealing. In order to capture the bigger user base & those who are new to a streaming service the free model would be a great sell. Apple is however offering a 3-month free trial starting June 30th which may help them with their launch.
Apple Music will offer streaming at 256kbps. Now for the majority this may not be bad or a con at all as they can’t tell the difference between 256 to 320 or Tidal’s lossless audio. Though if you do subscribe to Spotify Premium or Tidal you get better quality for the same price.
In my personal opinion the biggest let down was the app itself for Apple Music. It felt very iOS 7 to me. Not as visual or interactive as I would’ve thought. Apple tends to focus on simplicity & easy to manage controls. All of which are highly important when it comes to music. So far aside from the artist page it seems like a slightly modified Music app.
Apple Music offers two things that try to set it apart from the rest of pack. First being the Beats powered 24/7 radio service with talent like Zane Lowe that Apple hired to focus on streaming the latest in music, interviews, and overall culture. A station everyone can listen to at anytime all at once around the world. Online radio is nothing new & this is more so focusing on the talent. Think of it more as a plus one to the overall service.
The other side being Connect. Apple’s part two of Ping. Yes Ping, if you remember that. A platform to connect artists to fans & vice versa. Giving them ways to provide exclusive content from lyrics to unreleased songs. This part really depends on the artists adoption & how well Apple really promotes the whole connection aspect. I love the idea of making a more personal platform that allows the listeners to feel as if they’re getting in touch with their favorite artists. However if Apple doesn’t build this out & get the attention needed its essentially a Facebook fan page.
As of right now the differentiators are nice but not great. They’ll certainly be worth trying out as you get them free with your $10 subscription anyway. The true focus will be on a couple of things. Exclusive rights & deals Apple can score both on the music library front & across their radio station. Offering a bigger & better library & trying their best to tap into the culture of music focusing not just on the artists but the content itself. What listeners want streamed & access to, that can help it stand out in a sea of competitors. Last but not least making the app fluid & simple enough for anyone to pick up & use. To really understand what “Apple Music” is. Even if its simply a way for them to save money versus buying music every month. At that point we’ll need to hear more about the artist split with Apple as with the streaming service artists are expected to take a hit revenue wise. So we’ll see what Apple does cut wise to justify this.
It’s too early to give the ultimate say on the service obviously as it’s not even released yet. Come June 30th I’ll be stacking it up against the other competitors out there & seeing in the end where it stands. If its another service that just picks up well & integrates into my iOS lifestyle or simply fades away & will require time & money to even come close to scratching the likes of a service like Spotify.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2015 rounded up this morning with a flurry of announcements. Primarily all software based with updates from everything in their existing line of operating systems from iPhone to Apple Watch. This was an event that focused on incremental updates & not major feature releases, however there were a great amount of things that will change how you use your iOS devices day to day.
Here’s a recap of everything that mattered from the WWDC event for developers & consumers alike.
OS X 10.11 El Capitan:
Their latest version of OS X is named after a rock formation within Yosemite. Known as El Capitan, yes thats really what they’re calling it. Aside from the name here’s a list of things El Capitan will bring to OS X.
- Mission Control Update
- Spotlight Update
- Native App Updates (Mail, Notes, etc)
Now the main aspects this OS update will focus on are “Experience” & “Performance”. With improvements made ever so slightly within the UI to make things easier to access & navigate. As far as performance enhancements go theres been a ton of updates under the hood to improve graphics performance with their all new Metal for Mac & other tweaks to improve everyday tasks. This update was all about stability & small enhancements here & there.
This is essentially window snapping & management brought over to OS X. Allowing you to easily snap apps next to each other for better viewing & multitasking.
The mission control window has been redesigned a bit to provide a cleaner overall experience. This allows you to navigate all your windows at a glance, split windows between multiple desktops, set apps to fullscreen, and more. This is what Mission Control should’ve been & focuses on doing everything under one feature.
Apple’s spotlight also received an update to allow for searching across more resources on the machine & web. It has also been updated to search within context to your files. So you can tell Spotlight to “Search for documents I worked on last week” for example which is super useful & makes it that much more convenient when your looking for a group/assortment of files.
The rest of OS X received some incremental upgrades as well. Maps app got updated with transit directions, safari with some speed tweaks & other features like tab muting, tab pinning, and more. Notes app got a big overhaul incorporating all sorts of features from to-do lists, photo support, and more (essentially evernote). Again this was an update that was incremental at the least yet game changing for some who’ve been waiting for some of these features. This isn’t a make or break update but at it’s free price point we can’t really argue. OS X El Capitan will be available in the Fall.
Developers can now get access via the developer program to start taking advantage of all the new features & API’s.
Another update that wasn’t focused on a huge UI overhaul or series of features. Rather it focused on the “foundation” of iOS. Performance, battery life, and ease of use across the mobile OS. The main updates here feature wise being
- Built-in Apps
- iPad Multitasking
- Intelligence (Proactive)
Apple has added an all new native app to iPhone, iPod, and iPad lineup is the “News” app. Essentially Apple’s take on Flipboard. You can sign up choose the stories/sources that matter to you & have Apple take that & provide you with a super visual news experience.
Just like OS X the new version of iOS has received its share of updates to native apps like Notes, Maps, and the Passbook app has been renamed to “Wallet” to accompany its support for Apple Pay & your various cards.
The iPad has finally received the software updates its been needing to make it an ever more powerful device. True multitasking has been brought to some of the iPads. I say some as the main split feature is limited to their “iPad Air 2″.
Slide Over is the ability to essentially slide in from the side another app while your still within lets say your browser. Essentially a way to respond to messages, access Twitter, and so on without leaving your main app. This provides a much more fluid experience while multitasking & is accessible across all current versions of the iPad from the Mini’s to Airs.
However the Split View feature which allows for side by side apps to be ran simultaneously is only available on the latest iPad Air 2. This could be due to the demand for hardware or Apple just trying to promote this feature across their top tier tablet.
Last but not least is the PiP or Picture in Picture feature which will allow iPad users to watch videos & media freely across iOS while using other apps or just on your home screen. This can be done with video media, FaceTime, and so on by simply tapping the Home button while media is playing.
Apple wanted to beef up the intelligence aspect of iOS, allowing it to have more context of how you use your device & what you want to see/use. As they claim a “smarter way to do just about everything.” Siri now has the ability to search through a wider range of things within your device & have more contextual understanding.
You can ask Siri things such as
“Show me photos from California last January”
“Remind me about this” while within an app.
The spotlight feature within iOS has been redone as well. Adding in better search functionality & a UI update to showcase “Siri Suggestions” people you contact frequently, apps you use most, and a “Nearby” section to find food, drinks, etc around you. Siri begins to live up to its assistive nature by doing more & more things automatically based on things you receive such as e-mails etc. For example receiving an e-mail for an invitation will automatically create email & events for your calendar. Plugging in your headphones to iOS 9 also recognizes you may want to finish something you started listening to earlier.
So subtle but convenient updates to how Siri works & interacts with you based of your daily usage.
Getting back to the foundation Apple really wanted to focus on the core aspects of iOS.
Security, performance, and convenience such as battery life. Across the OS apps and other key pieces of technologies have been sized own to reduce battery usage whenever possible. Essentially a low power mode. Turning off sensors when the device is not being used & so on. This coupled with all the new features make a great incremental upgrade from iOS 8 plotting a lot of the bugs & providing a better experience starting at the foundation.
On top of all this developers have access to a whole slew of API’s. Carplay, Home Kit, HealthKit, Swift 2 improvements and more are all great things that developers can tap into with the latest release.
Swift 2 Apple’s programming language released last year has made big leaps & bounds and to continue that growth Apple in a shocking move made it Open Source for all developers no matter their platform to take advantage off.
Apple Watch has received it’s first update software wise since its release. The biggest update being its support for native apps. Developers now have a SDK that will allow them to develop apps without the need to depend on the iPhone to send over “App logic”. This will provide a faster experience & better one at that for App developer and of course users.
The main updates here being
- Watch Face Updates
- Complication Updates
- Time Travel
Slight software updates came to the Apple Watch most of which we should’ve seen at launch. The more visual side being the watch faces they’ve added from photo based wallpapers to time lapses created by Apple you can use as your watch face for a more customizable experience.
Complications are little tid bits of info displayed across your watch face. With this update you get access to even more info at a glance such as flight times, battery life for your car specifically (VW e-Golf) and a couple other widgets you add to customize your watch face that much more.
Time travel is another feature being integrated into WatchOS to essentially jump forward in time to see relevant information. You can see whats ahead on your schedule, news headlines that occurred, and even your electric car battery life span estimated throughout the day. All by turning your digital crown.
Developers have more access throughout the watch hardware as well to integrate into their new native apps. Taking advantage of things like the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, Accelerometer, and more.
Last but not least Tim Cook saved the classic “One more thing…” line for their all new music streaming service announcement. The Apple Music service has been talked about in anticipation ever since they’ve bought Beats music.
The idea is to be an all-in-one music service behind their popular iTunes service they already offer. The service tries to focus on 3 aspects Music, Radio, and Connect.
Music- This is the streaming aspect of the service allowing you access to millions of the songs they already have in their library for you to stream. Built with recommendations, what’s new, and ways to of course discover new music.
Radio- Is Apples take on a 24/7 radio station backed by Beats. This will include music, interviews, and other cultural events surrounding the music industry. The main idea here is the star power behind this radio station. As Apple has taken the initiative to higher host Zane Lowe to run the show alongside a variety of widely known artists & figures to help DJ for the radio station.
This is nothing new obviously. Online radio has existed even in the 24/7 format however this is Apple trying to tap into the music culture aspect & if that means hiring the big public figures to draw hype then so be it.
Connect- Last but not least is Apple’s second attempt at connecting fans to artists they love & listen to. Remember Ping? It’s okay Apple doesn’t blame you if you don’t. Anyhow the idea here is to provide on top of all this a platform for artists to provide exclusive content & directly interact with their fan base. Allowing you to comment, share, like on your artists updates. Directly from the source. Again nothing groundbreaking this will depend on the artists adoption of this service & how they take to the platform.
This directly competes with Spotify & new services like Tidal which also focused on the star power aspect. While Apple doesn’t have the best track record with music/social networks they do own the biggest market place for music. That alone in conjunction with the deals & lets be honest money they can throw at this can easily transform this into a force to reckon with. However as of now to me they’re focusing more so on the artists & names to draw attention versus the music. Unless they can acquire deals & more exclusive music/features that Spotify doesn’t have then they won’t be able to stick out.
The service will start at $10 a month & offer a decent $15 monthly family plan for up to 6 members! However as of launch Apple service will come out June 30th & provide users a free 3 months to test out the service. So no harm in trying it out if your new to the streaming space or simply want to see how it stacks against the competition. It’s obviously still very early stages to see how they continue to roll with this & how far it’ll get.
However its no doubt Apple wants this service to be widely available & used. Apple Music will be available across all platforms by the end of this Fall season.
That about wraps up everything from WWDC 2015 event. It was definitely a lengthier event as they had a lot of ground to cover & while it was a packed event we saw more of what can be called gradual & incremental updates across their whole lineup. Of course this is nothing to be dismissed as these updates will definitely hold users over whether they have the latest iOS devices or older generations. Apple focused more on the foundations of the software in this case updating & implementing the core aspects of the software in order to provide a better experience not necessarily a new one. If anything these updates for iOS or OS X and so on provide a foundation in themselves for the next major release in the year to come.
What was your favorite announcement developer or consumer wise from the event? Anything your excited to see rolled out or try once Fall comes about. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
The highly anticipated & talked about Apple Watch are set to kick off for pre-order April 10th. In line with that Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced a 50% discount for all Apple employees. Needless to say its a good time to work for Apple or at least know someone who does. The discount will apply to all locations as shipping roles out worldwide & applies to the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport models and a $550 discount off the gold edition model.
Meaning prices will come down to:
Sport 38mm = $175
Apple Watch 38mm= $275
Apple Watch 42mm= $300
Apple Watch Edition Gold 38mm= $9,450
Apple Watch Edition Gold 42mm=$11,450
This discount will last for 90 days giving enough time for those who really want one to grab one at half the price.
The full memo was released via Apple’s site & can be read down below:
The day we’ve all been waiting for is almost here: Apple Watch is ready to ship.
Our retail stores are training for a whole new way to engage customers and help them experience Apple’s most personal product yet. On Friday, in over four hundred stores across four continents, we’ll open our doors to people who want to try on Apple Watch for the first time and start deciding which one is right for them.
Tens of millions of people have seen our keynotes and demonstration videos about the watch, and there’s much more to come. Some of the most innovative developers in the world are working on new experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch. More than one thousand apps were submitted in just four days last week when the App Store started accepting them, and the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then.
I know that many of you have been looking forward to choosing an Apple Watch for yourselves, and we want to make it easy for you. Starting Friday, in countries where the watch is available for pre-order, a special Employee Purchase Plan will offer a 50% discount on any Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport for your personal use.
As we introduce the watch in more countries, the special pricing for employees will be offered in those countries as well. Discounts will begin at pre-order and last for 90 days after availability. AppleWeb has more details, so I invite you to check it out.
Our products enrich people’s lives like no others, and we think Apple Watch is going to delight our customers in ways people can’t yet imagine. We want you to share in that experience right alongside them.
Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard for years to help this product reach our customers. And thanks in advance to the thousands of retail employees around the world who will start placing it on people’s wrists starting Friday.
The official release for the product will be April 24th while pre-orders start this Friday (April 10th).