Android users at last gained an app they can trust yesterday when Apple introduced the long promised Apple Music app (beta) for Android devices, a little slice of iced water to cool the divide between the two platforms.
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said Apple had 6.5 million paying Apple Music customers with 15 million in total including free trial customers.
Reaction from the Android community is expected to feature the usual hostility, though it seems to be beginning well, achieving a 3.2-star rating, despite grumbles that some Android devices just don't have the storage to keep tracks on board. 4,300+ people have submitted star ratings at this time.
Apple’s previously released Move to iOS app achieved 45,714 star ratings that average out as 2.1 – but is estimated to have been used to help at least a million people hitherto stranded on Android to switch to a new iOS smartphone.
However, the complaints within the reviews seem to confirm how difficult it is to build consistent user experiences on the fragmented Android platform. While 66% of iOS devices can run Apple Music, only Android 4.3 or above is supported.
Still there does appear to be a lot of interest in using Apple Music on Android – if only because the app is free, there’s millions of tracks and the services is available for a three month trial period.
Just like Apple Music on iOS or OS X, the Android app offers subscribers a huge catalog of streaming music, music recommendations, radio shows and more. You can even save music and music videos (when those are made available on the platform) for offline listening.
iTunes users who have for some reason ended up using Android phones can now access their iTunes music purchases through Apple Music, as long as they use the same Apple ID.
If I have any concern with the release it is Apple’s insistence on releasing beta software to a fairly critical crowd. Android evangelists will have a field day with this release. I’m predicting ridicule at any unexpected software problems and lots of attempts to get tracks from the service for nothing. Apple must surely expect this. The company is (bravely I think) pitching its wares at a tough crowd.
Perhaps that doesn’t matter. Apple’s iTunes chief, Eddy Cue, told TechCrunch: “…from the moment we got into music, many, many years ago, we’ve always wanted to do things for everyone when it came down to music. Part of that was letting you enjoy your music no matter where you were and what products you were using.”
Apple is certainly trying to get familiar. This is a full native app, it looks like and works like an Android app (“We’ve tried really hard to make a great app for Android,” says Cue) so use should be intuitive to anyone who uses that platform.
Cue talked intelligently about music’s international appeal, and seems passionate in his belief that Apple has a responsibility to get people’s music out there. Making it available on other platforms (can we predict Apple Music for Windows here? I just did), makes sense within the mission.
And, of course, this is going to make life a little easier for Android users planning to switch to iOS. This may become increasingly relevant in future as Cook recently told us 30 percent of new iPhone buyers were swithching from Android….Let the games begin.
It’s time to face the (Apple) Music.
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