Apple Music Gets Redesign, Minus Beats 1 Expansion

Apple Store in San Francisco
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pedestrians walk by the new flagship Apple Store on May 19, 2016 in San Francisco. 

"It's been an incredible year," said Eddy Cue, prepping the audience for the day's Apple Music revamp. The service now has "over 15 million" subscribers -- "we've learned a lot along the way," said Cue, introducing an "all-new Apple Music, redesigned from the ground up." As expected as the redesign was the demotion of the app's Connect tab, which is no longer featured on the bottom navigation and instead is subsumed into the "For You" tab. "More intuitive and familiar." Bozoma St. John, Beats' marketing director, introduced the new features, including lyrics for songs. Along with a host of updates to iMessage, the most-used app on iPhones, that included a lot of emoji was the integration of Apple Music into iMessage.

Importantly, Apple's radio station Beats 1 has a much-improved -- and needed -- interface do-over, showing far more information on the relatively (until now) black-boxed, but anecdotally popular, music play.

What didn't come, though was rumored, was an expansion of Beats 1 into Beats 2, 3, 4 and 5. While those aren't off the table, the lack of any update on their addition could push any launch back significantly. 

Apple Music can look forward to increased competition from the streaming sector's biggest player Spotify, which made clear last week that it would be joining the album-exclusives arms race that Tidal and Apple have been fighting for much of this year. Spotify's addition of video content, which is quickly becoming the most-ingested form of content on mobile device's, will further bolster competition between the two services.

WWDC's 2015 edition introduced Apple Music with much fanfare -- in addition to an assist from Drake, former Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine made his WWDC debut -- but other announcements about a new version of the Apple desktop and mobile operating systems, along with the deletion of the largely ignored Newsstand app, were less impactful.  


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