After weeks of anticipation Apple finally released iOS 8.4 and OSX 10.10.4, unveiling their new Apple Music app and service. I've only had a day to put it through it's paces, but here are my initial thoughts:
- The layout and design is confusing at first, but becomes more intuitive as you use it.
- The 'For You' section consisting of suggested albums and playlists are a nice feature, but 90% of it was music I already own.
- The curated playlists and artist-based radio stations are a great way to discover new music based on what you already listen to. The more songs you rate (or "like") the better it becomes.
- Beats1 Radio is little more than schizophrenic novelty at this point. The idea of a global radio station is cool, but a completely genre agnostic playlist makes listening for more than a few minutes at a time a tough prospect.
- The idea of 'mixing both the music you own/uploaded to iCloud as well as the millions of tracks available for streaming is fantastic...if it actually worked. When searching for music your presented with 2 options, 'My Music' - the music you own and 'Apple Music' - the streaming library. When you search the tracks available for streaming you can play what you searched for right from the search results or theoretically you can click a button and add the album or track to a playlist or to the 'My Music' section. However I've yet to have this work. I've tried to add entire albums to my 'My Music' library and had either literally nothing happen or occasionally only 5 or 6 of the 10 songs will actually show up. I've attempted to add individual tracks to already existing playlists with limited success as well. Sometimes it works, other times I'm left scratching my head. I had slightly better luck creating brand new playlists from the streaming catalog on both my iPhone and iPad, only to have the playlists show up on my MacBook Pro with no songs at all.
It unfortunately seems like Apple spent more time and effort concentrating on the look of the apps than functionality. It's impressive to look at it, but using it feels more like a beta that's not quite ready for release.
I've got high hopes that sooner rather than later Apple Music will fulfill all the promises it's set out to. The idea of having practically the entire world of music at your fingertips is amazing, but right now I'm left wishing I could roll back to yesterday's iOS and OSX and wait to update when the service is more than a great plan that's been poorly executed.