MacStories Reviews MusicBox

Apps

Federico Viticci, writing at MacStores:

 MusicBox, the latest app by indie developer Marcos Tanaka, is the “listen-later” music app of my dreams, the one I’ve wanted to use for years and that someone finallymade as a Universal app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s rare for me these days to find new apps that elicit this kind of enthusiasm, but when I do, I know I’ve stumbled upon something special. MusicBox is one of those apps.

This review is going to be pretty straightforward. If you’re a music lover and use either Apple Music or Spotify, and if you feel like you discover more interesting music than you can possibly consume in a day, MusicBox is for you. Open the App Store, spend $2.99 (there are no subscriptions or In-App Purchases in the app), and you’ll get what is likely going to be one of your favorite apps of 2022. Then, if you want to learn more about what the app does, how it integrates with Apple Music, and how you can set it up on your device, come back to this story and let’s dive in.

Apple Music Adds Anniversaries Feature

John Voorhees, writing at MacStories:

Apple Music was quietly updated today with a new feature: Essentials Anniversaries. The new Apple Music section features landmark albums from artists organized by their anniversaries, from five-year anniversaries all the way to 65-year-old albums.

The first featured anniversary is OK Computer by Radiohead, which celebrates its 25th anniversary tomorrow, May 21, 2022. The new Essentials Anniversaries section includes Radiohead’s album, a handful of music videos, and something new: an episode of a Apple Music radio show also called Essentials Anniversaries. The first episode is hosted by DJ Matt Wilkinson, who introduces most tracks, providing context and commentary and interviewing people involved in the production of OK Computer.

The iPod is Officially Discontinued

Apple

Apple:

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”

I remember my very first iPod. 10 GB. Black and white. And I loved it.

iOS Music Player Showcase

Apps

Marc Barrowclift wrote the most comprehensive guide to iOS music playing apps I’ve ever read:

There’s new and exciting developments every year in the realm of iOS third-party music players, and 2021 was no exception. While 2019 enjoyed an explosion of new players like Power Player and Albums that through time came to lead the space, 2020 in contrast received only a modest handful of new players and is instead remembered for the impressive growth the established player base received that year. This past year, 2021, managed to do both with a dizzying array of five new players and impressive growth across nearly all existing players.

A long, but extremely detailed and informative article. My favorite remains Marvis, due to its customizability, widget, and Last.fm integration.

Apple Music’s New Mood and Activity Playlists

MacStories has compiled a list of all the new Apple Music playlists added:

What we found was over 250 playlists each designed to fit a mood or activity that use animated cover art with simple line drawings to set them apart from Apple’s other playlist. Although they were announced as Siri playlists during the event on Monday, anyone with an Apple Music subscription can view and play the new playlists in the Music app like any other playlist in the service’s collection.

Albums 4.2 Released

Apps

Albums, an iOS app we’ve written about before, got a new release:

You can now subscribe to Record Labels in the Release Feed and load their discographies from their collection pages. Not just the few hundred labels Apple supports in the Apple Music API, mind you, but all the labels your little heart desires.

There is a certain genre of feature that I tell my wife about and she says “you know you are the only person who cares about that, right?” And I say “you may bag me up and put me out with the trash on the day that I release a new version of Albums where I didn’t spend a week going down a rabbit hole working on something you will correctly tell me only I care about.” 

Apple Purchases Classical Music Streaming Service Primephonic

Apple:

Apple today announced it has acquired Primephonic, the renowned classical music streaming service that offers an outstanding listening experience with search and browse functionality optimized for classical, premium-quality audio, handpicked expert recommendations, and extensive contextual details on repertoire and recordings.

With the addition of Primephonic, Apple Music subscribers will get a significantly improved classical music experience beginning with Primephonic playlists and exclusive audio content. In the coming months, Apple Music Classical fans will get a dedicated experience with the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits.

I am very excited to see what Apple does with this. Apple Music (and Spotify) are not set up for classical music and Primephonic is a fantastic standalone service for the “genre.”

Apple Rolls Our Spatial Audio and Lossless Tracks

MacStories:

Yesterday, not long after Apple’s opening WWDC keynote, the company activated Spatial Audio and lossless playback for Apple Music. The company followed up with a press release in which Zane Lowe, Apple Music’s co-head of Artist Relations and radio host, explains the new feature and how he feels Spatial Audio will affect music.

They have also released a playlist showcasing the Spatial Audio feature. Some have been sharing songs they’ve found that really take advantage of the format.

Apple Music Announces Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio

Apple:

Apple today announced Apple Music is bringing industry-leading sound quality to subscribers with the addition of Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with true multidimensional sound and clarity. Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio — the way the artists created them in the studio. These new features will be available for Apple Music subscribers starting next month at no additional cost.

Ted Lasso Believes

I loved this essay on Ted Lasso from Catherynne M. Valente:

Ted Lasso is like if Mr. Rogers, Bob Ross, Coach Taylor, Leslie Knope, and David Tennant’s Doctor all got together and had a big strange baby. It is a completely formulaic premise that turns around and refuses to follow the formula. It’s wholesome without being boring, kind without being trite, smart without being pedantic, so loving it’ll take your breath away, and gut-bustingly funny. Scripts so tight and hilarious that even one guy just saying his name and the paper he works for is not only a meme but makes you smile each and every time.

Do you know how fucking hard that is to pull off?

It is so much easier to be funny while being cynical. Everyone knows life sucks, it’s easy to get them onside by accessing that universal experience. To sneer and punch down and stand back from the world wrapped up in a sense of coolness that comes at the expense of everyone else and call that edgy. It is so much harder to stay funny while you’re being kind. In a show for adults. For cynical adults who are having a thoroughly rubbish time of it — and that was everyone in 2020. It’s nearly impossible, honestly. Even Parks and Rec constantly shit down Jerry’s neck. The Good Place was full of demons to balance out the philosophy with that kind of humor.

Ted Lasso is just a guy. It’s not the afterlife, it’s not in space, it’s not in a medieval morality play, it’s not even something as high-concept as the fantasy life of JD in Scrubs. He’s just a guy, who has problems, not insignificant ones, but also maybe the secret of life, moving through a traditional comedy plot — in fact, the actual plot of Major League — and handling it like comedy characters never do because it’s easier to do a madcap plot when everyone is being stupid and not communicating and running on the rails of their particular archetypal tropes.

iOS 14.5 Releases

Apple

iOS 14.5 has been released and MacStories has a good overview:

Apple today released version 14.5 of iOS and iPadOS, a substantial update to the operating system for iPhone and iPad that debuted in September and introduced features such as Home Screen widgets, multi-column app layouts on iPadcompact UI, a redesigned Music app, and more.

Version 14.5 is the biggest – or, at the very least, most interesting – update to iOS and iPadOS we’ve seen in the 14.0 release cycle to date. That’s not to say previous iterations of iOS and iPadOS 14 were low on new features and refinements – it’s quite the opposite, in fact. Perhaps the pandemic and Apple’s work-from-home setup played a role in the company spreading new iOS functionalities across multiple releases throughout 2020 and the first half of 2021, but, regardless of the underlying reason, iOS and iPadOS 14 have evolved considerably since their public launch six months ago.

Watch unlock for the phone has been 👌.

Apple Music Editorial Content Is Coming to Apple News

John Voorhees, writing for Mac Stories:

The integration of Apple Music and News, which Apple said nothing about during its event on April 20th, is clearly just getting going, so there’s not a lot to see yet. However, it’s also the sort of integration that has the potential to differentiate Music from competitors like Spotify and give users a much-needed reason to visit News. This is a feature we may learn more about next week when iOS and iPadOS 14.5 are released to the public, and that we’ll be keeping a close eye on and as we learn more about Apple’s plans for the fall during WWDC.

MacStories Reviews Albums 4.0

Apps

John Voorhees, reviews the new version of Albums 4.0 at MacStories:

Albums 4.0 is a beautifully designed, feature-rich app with more filtering and discovery tools than any other music app I’ve tried. The app is also opinionated, favoring album playback over individual songs or playlists. It’s the sort of focused, deep approach to music that Apple’s Music app doesn’t offer because it’s designed to appeal to a wider audience.

If you’re an albums-first music fan, you’ll love Albums. However, even if you prefer singles, playlists, and jumping around the Apple Music catalog as I do, Albums is worth checking out. The app’s powerful filtering opens up brand new ways to enjoy your music collection that any music fan can appreciate.