Apple released the iOS 8.4 update on Tuesday (June 30), and with it came the highly anticipated Apple Music streaming service.
Users may be confused: What makes Apple Music better, or even different, from Spotify, Tidal, Rdio and Google Music? They have a free three-month trial to figure it out, but until then, critics are speculating whether Apple Music can compete with Spotify's "freemium" model and really distance itself from the rest of the pack.
Read what critics are saying about Apple Music below:
"Streaming services aren’t just jukeboxes. Apple’s strategy is to combine all-you-can-eat tunes with software that watches what you’re playing, and also when and where you’re playing it," The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler says. "On top of that, humans (DJs and musicians alike) recommend their own choices through radio stations like Beats 1, which you can add to your own collection with a tap. The end result should be playlists based on your tastes and moods, plus a little serendipity, though on its first day, Apple Music’s recommendations for me weren’t great."
Forbes' Gordon Kelly writes: "Apple has yet to detail how Apple Music will work offline (presumably it will) and audio tracks max out at 256kbps verses the higher quality 320kbps of Spotify and Google Music (Apple uses AAC’s excellent compression, but Spotify and Google use the equally powerful Ogg Vorbis standard – both of which are far ahead of the ageing MP3)... As such Apple Music isn’t quite the revolutionary knock-out blow many predicted, but it’s a compelling start and, with Apple’s marketing potential behind it, could well become the most high profile streaming music service around."
"Compared to other streaming services, there’s simply a huge amount of stuff to browse: Picks from Apple’s own music editors. Playlists based on activities like “vacationing” and “breaking up.” Lists of “hot albums” and “hot tracks.” Videos. New releases. Playlists that introduce you to an important band that explain with words, as well as songs, why they matter. And so on," remarks Gizmodo's Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan. "It’s not that these things are different than what, say, Spotify offers. They’re just a lot easier browse from your phone screen through Music."
Macworld's Roman Loyola gives users tips on how to stop Apple Music from charging their accounts once the free trial period has ended. "Apple gives you three free months to try out Apple Music. After that, you have to pay $10 per month for a single user membership or $15 per month for a family membership. If you like Apple Music, you don’t need to do anything after the trial; your credit card on file with your iTunes account will be charged automatically. What do you do if you don’t want an Apple Music membership? You can’t end the free trial, but you can prevent Apple Music from automatically charging you once the trial is over."
"Unlike others, Apple Music features the live radio element of Beats 1 alongside the expert-curated stations and Pandora-like options that are common to its peers," CNET's Joan E. Solsman says. "Apple also differentiates itself with Connect, which gives artists the ability to share audio, video, photos and posts directly with fans. Additionally, it integrates Siri voice commands like "play the top song from 1993" and "add Drake's latest album to my library," and Apple Music offers cloud storage for 100,000 songs."