Last year, Apple jumped into the streaming music game with Apple Music, which turned out to be a wholly uninspiring clone of Beats Music. Here comes Apple Music’s second movement, but will it be enough?
Apple Music wasn’t the Spotify killer it needed to be. The product has acquired 15 million users by virtue of being an Apple product, but it’s still lagging behind Spotify in both users—Spotify has 30 million paying subscribers—and overall functionality.
Apple’s overhaul comes for Spotify with a design that looks quite a bit like Spotify, although Apple’s app isn’t getting the dark-themed overhaul that was rumored this spring.
In particular, Apple is highlighting new discovery tools. Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlists, and more broadly it’s “Browse” section, are very well designed, and for this reason very popular. Until now, Apple’s had some great curated playlists, but it’s still not great at quickly getting you to music that you’re likely to enjoy. The app is a mess.
The redesigned Apple Music is cleaned up with a streamlined interface that’s easier to browse. The best new feature is the For You section, which includes a Discover Mix that appears to be a complete ripoff of Spotify’s Discover Weekly. It’s a playlist of stuff you will like based on what you listen to. A great idea, if only Apple had it first.
Apple Music now also includes lyrics. The introduction of this feature led to easily the most cringeworthy moment of today’s WWDC Keynote. Do you want to know what it sounds like when thousands of rhythmically challenged developers try to rap along to “Rapper’s Delight”? It’s not pretty.
Finally, it appears that Apple is killing its basically useless Connect feature, which attempted to incorporate some social discovery features. It was rubbish, and I’m glad it’s dead.
All in all, this appears to be a nice UI upgrade for Apple Music, but it’s hardly the sea change a lot of people were hoping for. The best new ideas aren’t new at all—they’re lifted directly from Spotify. Oh well, millions of people will probably still use it anyway.