The majority of Australian Apple customers were pretty excited last week in anticipation of the launch of it's latest operating system update, iOS 8.4. The update hit our shores at 1am on Wednesday 1st July 2015. Generally they're a big deal as they usually bring a load of new features and bug fixes to Apple users that improve their experiences with the products, but this time it brought Apple Music along too.
Besides wanting to know more about the Apple Music update, I'm sure many of you will also be interested to see whether Apple has put anything into the software in anticipation of the iPhone 6s release. Well, you'll just have to keep reading to find out...
In the USA the Apple Music service costs US$9.99 per month for an individual subscription. Many Australians had hoped they would receive the equivalent price here too, especially with fears of the usual Australia tax being applied, but a quick check actually showed its cheaper in Australia. This time, lucky, the exchange rate works in our favour as US$9.99 = AU$13.34, but when you check out the Apple Music Australia website you will be see that it costs us just AU$11.99. There's also a family subscription which will cost $17.99 per month which allows as many as six family members use the service at the same time.
Apple released within the iOS 8.4 update a range of stability improvements and bug fixes, but this was background noise for most. The release without a doubt had users eagerly anticipating the introduction of the human operated Beats Radio station that started at 9am (2am AEST time) on launch day. The station will operate 24/7 and be led by BBC radio's famous Zane Lowe. You can also expect names such as Dr. Dre, Drake and Elton John to feature their own hour slots on the show.
Zane revealed pre launch that his first interview on Beats Radio would be with Eminem whilst artists such as Dr. Dre would host their own show called “The Pharmacy”. Drake the famous rapper that appeared on the stage at the Apple Music announcement will also have his own show. Elton John is also jumping on the bandwagon and will be hosting his eagerly anticipated show “The Elton John Rocket Hour”.
Recently I compared Apple Music to its competitors; Spotify, Tidal and Google Play Music to give you insight into which service would best suit your needs. But in light of this new launch, Apple is offering 3 months free subscription to its service to that let's you try it out before committing. Additionally, their suggested playlists will instead be operated by humans to a certain extent rather than completely robotic, as with many other services. Apple believes this is the best way to prevent huge jumps from one mood of music to another.
If you use iTunes Match at the moment then you will be familiar with the 25,000-song limit it has. Apple Music will initially have the same limit of 25k songs but there are promises that this will increase to 100,000 songs when iOS 9 launches (I wonder if they will only make it available on the new iPhone 6S?).
Even if you prefer Apple Music’s competitors you might want to explore their new artist functionality. Apple has rolled out a new artist-driven social network as part of Apple Music, called Connect. The inspiration behind this is to allow musicians to interact with their fans more directly.
What Else is New?
Firstly if you haven’t received your update yet then you can manually update your phone yourself by checking in Settings > General > Software Update. Then, whilst you’re waiting for the files to download this is what they'll tell you to expect from the new update:
- Beautiful new Music App design making the exploration of your music more colourful and visual
- Recently added: New songs now sit at the top of your library to make finding new music quicker
- New mini player: which shows you what’s playing and allows you to browse your music at the same time
- What’s next: Now its easy and simple to see what songs are up next plus re-organise them
What does Touch ID Hold in the Future?
Apple’s fingerprint scanner within the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has been rumoured to expand beyond just the lock screen. PayPal recently sent developers to Apples Touch ID session to learn how to incorporate the scanner into its mobile and tablet apps. This means we may be seeing all transactions processed by our fingerprint within eBay and PayPal accounts rather than having to remember passwords.
This is likely to be the next big update in iOS towards the end of the year. Forget having to remember or change your password to enter your mobile accounts any more the finger looks like the next big thing. Do not despair though, other companies will not have access to your finger print specifics, this will be locked away within the Apple processor which will only confirm if its correct or not.