Apple Music as part of iOS

I find it a little disconcerting that Apple Music had to come with an iOS upgrade. Was that intentional so people knew when they got the “new” app? Or, does updating the Music app require an iOS upgrade?

If it is the latter, that is concerning. iOS updates are few and far between compared to app updates. Safari and mail certainly aren’t updated every month or so. For established applications that might not be a big deal. But for something like a music app which is part of a brand new service, new features and bug fixes are going to need to come out on a faster pace than annually.

Are there Apple Apps that are part of the OS and not separately downloaded (like the Mac Office apps) that are updated independently from the iOS? Podcasts maybe? I’m not certain, and I’m not certain if its possible.

This might be the feature differentiator that separates Spotify from Apple Music.

Apple Music – One Day Later

Apple Music launched pretty seamlessly. A few thoughts after using it for the last day:

  • Beats 1 radio is going to bomb. People have different tastes. I don’t want to listen to the same things my family/boss/etc listen to. Further, its live. How does that work when its broadcast around the world? So, if somethign airs live in the US, those people on the other side of the globe need to be up and listening at 5 in the morning?
  • Playlists are awful. They are hard to search, I can’t seem to figure out how to find a certain mood. Given the current state of iTunes app store searches this shouldn’t surprise me. I really miss Spotify’s plethora of playlists. Maybe with time this will change, but again, the interface doesn’t promote the idea that you can share playlists with other users.
  • Playback has been an issue too. Strangely, when in the car streaming over cellular, songs sometimes just don’t play. Could be a coverage area, but I’m commuting on the 10 in LA. I have 4-5 bars at all time. This is another area where for some reason Spotify never failed. Perhaps Spotify did a better job of ramping down the streaming quality if the network is congested?
  • Having all my music everywhere is amazing. Last night I installed the new iTunes on my Mac. At work when I logged into iTunes on my PC, all the music from my mac is avaialble to stream from the cloud. I know that sounds like nothing when it is mostly available on Apple Music anyway, but it is nice to have it in a familiar layout of iTunes, and songs not available on Apple Music are also uploaded to the cloud. Magic. (Yes, I know Google Music has done this for ages too – but streaming from a website has its own issues)

Apple Music’s Beats Roots

Apple Music is launching this week. The influences and features dragged over from the Beats app are pretty obvious. 

See this screenshot from the Beats app:

 
Compared to this screenshot from the new Apple Music app:

  

But what was even stranger to me was how much was made of Apple’s decision to offer a three month free trial. 

No one made any objections when Beats Music made the same offer of three months free for new users past year. 

Why the sudden outcry now? Is it because of Apple’s size? Because the music labels actually fear that Apple will get real number of users as opposed to the Beata app.

Apple Music Questions

Apple announced Apple Music today. A few questions I have that weren’t answered:

Is everything on the iTunes store also available to stream on Apple Music? (thinking about Taylor Swift, the Beatles, Jay-z, and others who have taken some or all of their music off of certain Streaming services.)

Do I get iTunes Music Match if I sign up for Apple Music? So, if I have something in my library that isn’t on iTunes, I can still stream it?

HBO Exclusivity on Apple

People are complaining about Apple’s exclusivity (for 3 months) of HBO Now – the streaming, over-the-top service HBO is offering separate and apart from its cable channel.

I think the motivations for this might be more innocent than appear on first glance. Sure, there might be some money exchanging hands. But – remember – HBO GO was notoriously bad at staying up when huge demand hit servers.

HBO has since moved to MLB’s streaming technology to deliver content. However, they still were relying on the old business model of giving HBO GO to current TV subscribers. So, if your HBO stream went down, they could just say “go watch ondemand on your TV” without losing too much face. If all you have is the HBO Now service – it better darn well not go down.

So, limiting to a smaller audience – Apple TV and iOS devices – allows you to test scaling. Note the timing just before Game of Thrones premiere.

The Dawn of Affordable Quality Android Phones

I’ve always had a weird reaction to cheap Android phones. The high end phones were priced about the same as Apple’s iPhones (even if arguably with better specs on paper). But the cheap phones were awful. Low memory, bad screens, slow processors, Android that is two versions behind.

However, recently affordable Android phones have really been appealing. I attributed this to many developing countries adopting mobile platforms and not being able to afford the unsubsidized prices of $700 phones.

Check out this list of great phones! All of these run the newest version of Android and are compelling feature wise – not just simple also-made phones.

Moto E – $149

Lenovo A7000 – $169

Alcatel Idol 3 -$200

Xiaomi Mi Note – $370

iPad Future

iPad sales have been down lately. And not just lately, but its a downward trend for sometime. Simply making the iPad thinner isn’t going to bump sales.

The common story is that everyone’s iPad 2 serves them just fine and the new ones don’t offer any features they desire.

Remember those rumors about dual screen capability on the iPad? I cannot wait for this to happen. There are so many instances where I am streaming a video on Netflix, but also need to draft a quick email response.

This is a feature that people could get on board with. It would help make the iPad more useful. And for the processing power required to run two apps smoothly at once – Apple could require newer hardware. This would encourage new iPad adoption.

What I'm Thinking

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