Apple Music is finally here. The iOS 8.4 update hit yesterday and we’ve been exploring Apple’s new music streaming service to see if it lives up to the hype. Listen to our first impressions, problems, and our opinions about Apple Music. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.
Update: Apple has responded to Swift’s blog post.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Taylor Swift’s latest album ‘1989’ will not be available on Apple Music, Apple’s streaming music service launching on June 30th with iOS 8.4. She has written a blog post on Tumblr explaining her position.
We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.
Swift explains that she respects Apple for their innovation but says the terms associated with the Apple Music free trial are ‘unlike this historically progressive and generous company’. Swift says that under the 3 month free trial period, artists and rights holders are not paid at all for the duration and notes Apple has plenty of money to reimburse the artists for their work. Swift says that she is holding back 1989 not because she cannot support herself but as a retaliation for ‘the new artist or band that has just released their first single’.
The Beats 1 radio station that forms part of Apple Music has put in its first appearance for iPhone and iPad users running the beta version of iOS 8.4 and iOS 9. Users are seeing the station logo and hearing pre-roll audio from Zane Lowe when it is clicked.
Earlier this week we noted that Apple has refreshed the Beats by Dre wireless Beats Powerbeats 2 earbuds with new colors aimed at Apple Watch Sport users. Today, Apple has updated its Beats headphones website to promote the new line of headphones along with a new price: $179, which is $20 less than the previous price at $199.
With its onboard storage for music and Bluetooth connection, Apple is promoting these headphones as a way to tap into listening to music with the Apple Watch without the need of a connected iPhone. Even with the ties to Apple and the new Apple Watch-centric marketing campaign, the new earphones will still work with other Bluetooth media players.
We noted earlier today on 9to5Toys that some retailers are offering as much as $50 off of the wireless headphones, and Amazon is selling the accessory at various discounted prices ranging from $169 to $189.
Years before Apple bought Beats Electronics, the Beats by Dr. Dre-branded headphones were produced in part by audio and video equipment maker Monster. After Beats decided to let its contract with Monster expire in 2012, however, the cable maker saw Apple’s $3 billion purchase of the company as reason to sue. Now Monster claims, after filing its lawsuit in January, that Apple is pushing it out of the MFi program that allows manufacturers to advertise compatibility with and use the iPhone maker’s licensed technology when producing and selling accessories… Read more
Apple quietly updated its Powerbeats2 headphones to match Apple Watch Sport colors this week signalling a new move to focus audio accessories to the Apple Watch ecosystem. The new colors, which match the Apple Watch Sport Band colors of Blue, Black, Green, Pink and (updated) White, are available in Apple Stores but haven’t arrived at other retail locations yet.
The Apple Watch can store and play 2GB of music without a tethered iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth 4 and with watchOS 2 will get access to many more audio applications. It wouldn’t be out of character for Apple to release over the ear Beats headphones in matching colors or even PowerBeats Wireless to match the more expensive stainless steel Apple Watch.
The new Powerbeats2 headphones will of course work with all Apple and other Bluetooth 4 devices even though they appear to be focused on the growing Apple Watch market.
Apple Powerbeats2 Wireless earphones still come in their original, dare I say, dated colors for $199 ($189 Amazon, $169 Best Buy or $160 Ebay) but the original White version has been moved from the old lineup the the new lineup. Original urBeats wired headphones can be found for as little as $45 via 9to5Toys.com
According to a new report from Variety, Beats was developing a line of Sonos-like speakers before it was acquired by Apple. When the Apple acquisition occurred, development of the connected speakers was stopped, according to the report. Some of the engineers that were working on the project were moved to other teams, while others have since left the company.
The line of speakers that Beats had planned was originally slated to launch before the 2014 holiday season. While the company already offers several Bluetooth-based speakers, the company wanted to develop a new line that combined Bluetooth, WiFi, and NFC technologies to allow for more seamless playback. Beats was planning a large, living room speaker that was reportedly going to be priced at around $750, as well as several smaller, more affordable options.
Apple announced its streaming music service at WWDC this week after months of much anticipation. The service includes many of the features that our own Mark Gurman reported on months in advance. Earlier this year, I broke down my own thoughts on what features the service needed to have in order to convince me to switch from Spotify. Those requested features included excellent support for my previously acquired music; well-designed, cross-platform apps; exclusive content; competitive pricing; and a killer radio functionality.
No competitor to Apple Music has anything that even remotely resembles Beats 1. Read more
When news broke last year that Apple was in talks to acquire Beats, my initial response was concern that the subscription music service I’d only just started to love would change into something different. Then Apple actually bought Beats.
What happened next is Beats Music stopped all significant consumer-facing development completely. Apple TV gained a channel for the service as Apple started pushing the service to iOS users, but Beats Music never came to the Mac and the promised CarPlay app was never released.
When the Apple Watch debuted in April, both Beats Music and iTunes Radio were missing from the platform. That halt in Beats Music development meant that Spotify — which was already on the Mac and CarPlay — had months to grow and introduce compelling features to make it a better subscription music service.
While we won’t know how well Apple Music performs until it launches in three week, these six promised features will make it superior to Beats Music for me: Read more
Roughly one year after spending $3 billion to acquire Beats, a speaker and headphone company cofounded by music industry veterans Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, Apple has officially revealed its all-new streaming music service built on that massive acquisition. Apple Music, as we first reported the subscription music service would be called, is the company’s answer to on-demand music services like Spotify. As part of the 2014 acquisition, Apple gained its own subscription music competitor in Beats Music, although the new Apple Music service is the company’s first to be built by the Cupertino company. Details below: Read more
Apple has issued a rare recall notice on one of its products today: the Beats Pill XL portable Bluetooth speaker sold in Apple Stores and various other retailers. The voluntary recall cites a situation in which the battery can overheat and become a fire hazard. Apple purchased Beats Electronics and Beats Music for some $3 billion in 2014. The current Beats Pill XL hardware has remained the same since Apple purchased the speaker company. Press release below: