Apple Music is here

Anthony Caruana
1 July, 2015
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At about 2am this morning Apple unleashed iOS 8.4 and its new Apple Music service.

Let’s cut to the chase – the local cost will be $11.99 per month for individuals and $17.99 per month for families with up to six members. The Family membership uses Apple’s Family Sharing service – further underscoring how Apple is building an ecosystem of components that will tie lots of Apple services together. We can’t recall a single ‘expert’ pointing to Family Sharing being a part of the Apple Music puzzle.

In comparison, Spotify is matching that price with its premium service for the next few days.

And, for those concerned with the Apple tax – the premium pricing applied in Australia over the US price – we’re getting Apple Music for about $1 per month less than the US. And that’s before we add local taxes to the US$9.99 being charged stateside.

The iOS 8.4 update weighed in at a little over 240MB on our up-to-date iPhone 6. It’s worth noting the size of the update will vary depending on your device and when you last updated.

In order to use Apple Music, you need to commit to a paid subscription that commences once the three-month trial concludes. We couldn’t find a way to avoid the subscription commitment when signing into the trial.

Once we launched the new Music app on the iPhone and signed on to Apple Music, we had access to all our playlists, albums and other music. By default, our music was sorted by Artists, but tapping on the ‘Artists’ label reveals the other sorting options including Sings, Albums and Genres.

One of the centrepieces of the new Music app and service is Beats 1 radio – a 24/7 online radio station. Stations we had subscribed to with iTunes Radio were also available.

‘For You’ is Apple’s personalisation tool for Apple Music. Adopting an Apple Watch-like interface of circular icons, you tap once to choose a genre or artist you like, twice for one you love.  However, one of our preferred genres,  contemporary Christian music, was not represented, although more mainstream tastes such as rock, pop, metal, classical, jazz and hip-hop were available.

Our first few hours with Music on the iPhone have been positive. We find the interface easier to use. In particular, the Albums listing is easier to access than before – something we like.


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