Apple Music Review

July 3, 2015

Your music, your choice.

After its announcement at WWDC last June, Apple is finally making its way through iOS users worldwide. Its aim is to offer a way for you simply stream music on demand without having to load them up to your device. Since iTunes offers more than 30 million songs it is just plausible that Apple takes advantage of this and offer a subscription based model offering you to stream all of these songs straight from your smartphone – but does it match up with current music streaming services? Let’s find out.

Requirements

Apple Music is built into the Music app of iOS, which would require you to update to iOS 8.4. Along with that, you would also need to update iTunes to version 12.2 to be able to start listening to Apple Music and Beats 1, if your country supports it (more on the later).


 

Payment

Apple Music is a subscription-based service, and you would need to pay to continue getting the service. In the US, the charges start at $9.99 per month for a single user or $14.99 as part of the Family Sharing plan. In the UAE, it would cost you 19.99 AED per month or 29.99 AED for the Family Sharing plan.

If you are wondering why the UAE pricing is cheaper than the US, that is because the UAE iTunes store offers less content compared to the US one, but the advantage is that the UAE iTunes store offers more local content curated for users in the region.

If you are still not sure if you would want to pay for Apple Music, you can take advantage of the 3-month free trial and decide if you want to continue. Just make sure you turn off the automatic renewal option in the settings page so you won’t be automatically charged should you forget to cancel it.

 

Setup

Setting up Apple Music is easy – once logged in and you have confirmed your subscription, it will automatically ask you what genres of music you are most likely to listen to. After that, a bunch of artists will pop up, where you choose your favorites.

The choices are presented in a bubble like interface much like how you would browse the Apple Watch apps. The more choices you make, the better it could understand what type of music it can recommend to you.


Interface

The Music app on iOS normally contains all the music you have synched and purchased on iTunes. iOS 8.4 has updated the design with a more modern feel and navigation and has integrated Apple Music on one of the tabs.

There are five main tabs inside: For You, New, Radio, Connect and My Music.

For You is where your music choices come into play. Based on the genres and artists you have chosen, Apple Music will offer you a curated playlist that you can start listening to, the best thing is that you like a particular playlist, you can either save that or simply save a specific song for offline listening. Note that you must have an active subscription to be able to do all of this.

New is where the newest content can be found. It can be a form of a new single, or a new music video, or an album launch which you can immediately listen to your convenience.

Radio is the original iTunes Radio, which offers various internet radio channels that you can listen to on the fly. The difference is Radio is launching with Beats 1, a 24/7 radio channel that features interviews and can even accept song requests. Unfortunately though, Beats 1 is not available in the UAE (for now).

Connect is a social platform where you can follow your favorite artists. They can post updates on current songs they are working on, which can be in a form of an image or a video. As a user you are free to comment and talk to other users on a specific artist’s posts.

Lastly, My Music houses all of the music that you have synched on your device along with the ones that you have downloaded for offline listening. The new interface is cleaner and offers an easier way to browse your song selection. Additionally, a small mini player is available so you can continue navigating the Music app while listening to your favorite tunes.

A search option is also available inside the Music app that lets you search any music, artists or album that you are looking for. When you find what you are looking for in the results page, you can immediately start adding them to a playlist or simply start listening.


Thoughts

Streaming music largely depends on your internet connection – so be wary of the date usage you might incur when using it on LTE. Music streamed over a data connection comes at a lower bitrate – while streaming on Wi-Fi improves the quality. Casual users won’t notice the difference though and the music is still clear and crisp that is perfect for passive listening.

Conclusion

Only time will tell if Apple Music will be able to match the success offered by other platforms like Spotify and Pandora. The good thing is that Apple Music is available here locally, whereas services like Spotify are limited to a number of countries (unless you do workarounds).

But overall, Apple Music is a great music streaming service, considering you already have access to more than 30 million songs right from your device and a subscription price that’s easy on the pocket

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.