Apple has launched a beta version of Apple Music for the web.
Jony Ive, the famous designer at Apple, is leaving the company after thirty years. I thought Gruber’s take on the whole thing was pretty good:
Third: This may be good news. Ive is, to state the obvious, preternaturally talented. But in the post-Jobs era, with all of Apple design, hardware and software, under his control, we’ve seen the software design decline and the hardware go wonky. I don’t know the inside story, but it certainly seems like a good bet that MacBook keyboard fiasco we’re still in the midst of is the direct result of Jony Ive’s obsession with device thinness and minimalism. Today’s MacBooks are worse computers but more beautiful devices than the ones they replaced. Is that directly attributable to Jony Ive? With these keyboards in particular, I believe the answer is yes.
Some more information has been uncovered about the upcoming iTunes changes answering some of the questions people had.
The Music app is basically iTunes—but with a design update that puts Apple Music at the fore. You can still see your entire music library, of course, and even buy music on the iTunes Store if you want to. As someone who uses iTunes with Apple Music every day, I’m okay with this change. And if you click on the Songs view in the Library section of the sidebar, you will get your classic iTunes song list back, like it never left.
Apple told Ars Technica that on Windows, there will be no changes. Those who use iTunes on a PC to manage their devices, listen to music, and make iTunes purchases will be able to continue to do so.
What about the syncing features of iTunes? macOS Catalina builds them into the Finder. Attach an iOS device to a Mac and it appears in a Finder window’s sidebar. Select it and what looks like the standard iTunes sync settings screen appears in the window. You won’t get syncing or management of iOS apps, but you’ll be able to back up, update, and restore devices from the Mac.
Today was Apple’s WWDC keynote, and it was jam packed with stuff, but the most relevant to this website is probably the breakup of iTunes into new separate Podcasts, TV, and Music apps. The Verge has a good rundown:
The update will come with macOS 10.15. The shift makes sense, and has already taken place on iOS. Apple Podcasts, for example, has been on iPhones and iPads for years, but never made its way over to macOS devices. iTunes itself is a relic of a different era in which people bought all their music and movies in one place, and it’s felt neglected and outdated for quite some time.
It’s been a long time coming; I’m looking forward to the new Apple Music app.
Come discuss the Apple Keynote in our official Apple thread today at 10:00am PDT.
Unlike many other apps that aim to streamline the act of adding contact photos, Vignette doesn’t require access to any of your personal social media accounts. Commonly, apps will ask you to log in to Facebook, for example, so they can crawl your friends list to extract profile images and other data for your contacts. While this is an effective method, it also requires giving a third-party app special access to your social media accounts. Vignette takes a different approach.
Reuters is reporting that Apple Music has surpassed Spotify in paid monthly U.S. subscribers:
Apple Inc’s streaming music service overtook rival Spotify Technology SA in terms of paid subscribers in the United States, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
Apple’s service had 28 million subscribers as of the end of February compared with Spotify’s 26 million paid subscribers, the person said.
My first thoughts are that the News+ service looks really good, but it’s not something I’d want my publication to be a part of because our entire model is based on direct subscription from readers. The game service looks interesting, but without knowing the price it’s hard to really judge it. I find the credit card industry gross. If Apple was going to jump into this market I wish they would have disrupted it. It’s my view that extremely high interest rates on credit cards should be illegal. The video service looks like it’ll have multiple shows I’ll like, but that’s all a wait and see until it’s actually available.
Apple has updated their AirPods:
Apple today announced new AirPods, the second generation of the world’s most popular wireless headphones. AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love. The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri.” AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new Wireless Charging Case for convenient charging at home and on the go.
I use mine every single day and they’re one of my favorite purchases in a long time. Holding out to upgrade until the battery dies or they release them in black though.
Amy Wang, writing at Rolling Stone:
Patrick Stump was livid. On a lurching tour bus rigged with a wobbly Jenga tower of recording equipment, the singer and Fall Out Boy frontman had been trying to lay down demos for the band’s second album — it’d been hours, fiddling with rubber cords and finicky software — and nothing was working well together. Stump can still precisely recall the panic in the moment he finally finished the rough sketch of a song only to see the whole apparatus glitch and crash on his computer. “I just lost it, screaming in the back of a bus,” Stump tells Rolling Stone, a decade and a half later. “When you’re being creative, you just want to get your idea out. When you’re composing, time is everything, because you’re thinking the second guitar has to do this and the background vocals are going to do this and you just want to get it all out as quickly as possible. I thought: I’m not going to be able to do this.”
Madly clicking around on his laptop in search of a new route, Stump happened to open one of its pre-loaded programs. While he’d heard of Garageband, a piece of free software shipped with all Mac computers, he’d thought it was more toy than tool — and no one else was giving it much attention then, in the early 2000s. “But I opened it that first time and never looked back,” says Stump, who talks about the software with a particular fondness, as if remembering his meeting with an old friend. “I just started recording, without having to learn a new program, which was always one of the scariest things about music.”
I really enjoyed this article looking at the 15-year history of Garageband.
Spotify has filed an anti-trust complaint with EU regulators against Apple:
Spotify is filing a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it manages its App Store, and thus gives its own Apple Music streaming service an advantage over rivals.
I found this thread on Twitter did a pretty good job summing up my thoughts:
We’re not debating anything that that has anything to do with what’s good in the long run for customers.
We’re fighting over who gets to have a larger monopoly on fucking artists.
Apple Music is commissioning new custom playlist artwork:
The artwork is meant to “connect more directly with the communities and the culture for which they were intended,” says Rachel Newman, Apple’s global director of editorial. Before now, Apple’s playlists had a uniform presentation that didn’t necessarily speak to the music. “In many ways, it’s a visual representation of the music that you will find inside that playlist,” said Newman. That includes Hip Hop Hits, Dale Reggaetón, and The Riff, which are all immensely popular.
AirBuddy brings the same AirPods experience you have on iOS to the Mac. With AirBuddy, you can open up your AirPods case next to your Mac and see the status right away, just like it is on your iPhone or iPad. A simple click and you’re connected and playing your Mac’s audio to AirPods.
Musish has put together a web player for Apple Music. It looks pretty good.
Apple Music is now available on the Amazon Echo:
To set up Apple Music on the Echo, open the Alexa iOS app and go to the Music section of the app’s Settings. You won’t see Apple Music listed as an existing service, so tap the ‘Link New Service’ button, which will list Apple Music along with several other services.
Once you’ve logged in with your Apple Music credentials, the Apple Music Skill is enabled, which allows you to say things like ‘Alexa, play my New Music Mix on Apple Music.’ You can separately set Apple Music as your default music service, which lets you use Alexa to request music without specifying ‘on Apple Music.’
I’ve been playing with it all weekend and it works great. It doesn’t (currently) have access to your entire iCloud Music Library, so things in your personal collection aren’t available, but the millions of songs on Apple Music are all available, as are your custom playlists.