Apple isn’t happy with only dominating the smartphone market; it wants to take on the entertainment biz now – with Apple Music leading the way.
But having brought its new entertainment-centric feature to the fray, what does it actually do? To find out, we’ve given it the once over to help you figure out whether it’s worth signing up to, or better off being left unused.
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Touted as a new way to listen to music, Apple Music has completely updated the standard music app on iOS 8.4 devices to help make life easier for those who regularly find themselves with earphones plugged in.
It offers several services that were previously unavailable to iPhone users, with the first being a way to stream music direct to your phone. It works very similarly to the likes of Spotify and Tidal, allowing users to select their favourite artists and listen to tunes of theirs and ones that are similar.
On top of this, the service also uses your built-in music library to recommend other tracks worth listening to. So if you happen to be listening to Ed Sheeran from your library, you may be recommended to listen to someone similar when gazing the online service.
Apple is also including its very own Beats 1 Radio station, which transmits songs and shows with big name artists and personalities globally for free – regardless of whether you pay for a membership or not.
Finally, the Connect feature offers a way for you to engage with your favourite artists, bringing Apple users closer to the stars than ever!
Bringing in big names like Zane Lowe, Drake, Eminem and Dr. Dre, Beats 1 Radio is the first worldwide radio station from Apple, which will transmit to any Apple powered device that’s up to date.
Based in London, New York and LA, you’ll be able to tune into Beats 1 regardless of your location, listening to some of the best tracks ever recorded as well as listening in to interviews with countless celebrities.
On top of what’s being listed as the ‘world’s local station’ we’ll also be given a series of other stations which are offering a mix of numerous genres to meet any mood, as long as you’re a member. Whether it’s a chilled out vibe for when you arrive home from work or a party playlist for your preparations for the night ahead, Apple Music will be offering plenty of suitable tunes.
If none of these take your fancy, you can even build your own station using songs you like as a template – so you definitely can’t be caught complaining about songs you’re not a fan of.
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What makes Apple Music so good is the scope it has over many of the devices you might happen to have.
It obviously comes as standard with any piece of kit with an Apple on the back which has been fully updated to iOS 8.4, but it also joins a number of other devices as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, all of these will work with the service, whilst your PC and Mac also join in.
However, the biggest surprise is the inclusion of an Android app, which will arrive this autumn, bringing the feature to a whole new market of customers – although it will be interesting to see how it does on another OS.
The free version of Apple Music allows users to listen to the Beats 1 Radio station and follow artists through the Connect feature and little else. Users will get free access to membership level for three months, allowing them to access featured stations and save music for offline listening, but after this runs out you’ll be expected to splash out £9.99/month for an individual membership.
If you happen to be a fan of sharing, then you can always grab a family membership (which is valid for up to six people) for £14.99/month, but it works similarly to family sharing on iTunes.
In general, the reception of Apple Music has been a good one, although it can be quite easy to get lost within the app. In fact, it’s quite easy to understand how users just after their standard music library might struggle to adapt, as your collection is now kept in a menu just after selecting the app itself.
As always, Apple has included a very clean and user-friendly interface, so it’s generally very easy to navigate, but it was always going to prove quite tricky to make such a service without confusing us in some way.
However, the overriding feeling from Apple Music is that of satisfaction, with many fans enjoying the service. Once the excitement dies down it will be interesting to see the numbers against the likes of Spotify and Tidal, and somehow we have a feeling Apple won’t be looking too shabby afterward…
Written by Luke Hatfield