Apple is again working to change how consumers get their music by launching Apple Music, its streaming music service, while also unveiling a next-generation operating system for Apple Watches, which hit the market in April.
Both announcements came out on the first day of the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco on June 8, where CEO Tim Cook called Apple Music “the next chapter in music.”
Apple Music, which will launch June 30 in 100 countries, including the United States, will join the iTunes store and give music lovers a new way to find a huge catalog of music in one destination, according to Cook. The service will be compatible with iOS 8.4 on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and as an update to iTunes on Mac computers to start, though Windows and Android versions will be available later in the fall.
Apple Music will be priced at $9.99 per month after a free 90-day trial, or up to six family members can share a membership for $14.99 per month, according to the company.
Also available as part of Apple Music is a new around-the-clock Apple online Beats 1 live radio streaming service that will include on-air personalities spinning songs and exploring new music with listeners. Listeners will also be able to tune into Beats 1 even if they are not subscribers to Apple Music. Apple Music will enable fans to interact with their favorite musicians and discover new up-and-coming musicians as well.
“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a statement. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app—a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”
Apple Music will put the entire Apple Music catalog of some 30 million songs at the fingertips of subscribers, according to the company. A user’s existing music tracks, whether purchased from the iTunes Store or ripped from CDs, will live in one place on their devices alongside the Apple Music catalog.
A key new feature of Apple Music is that experts around world will curate the music and help create perfect playlists for users based on their preferences. A special “For You” section in Apple Music brings those selections together.
The 24/7 Beats 1 streaming radio show will be led by influential DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London, with the programming broadcast around the globe at the same time, according to Apple.
A new Connect feature will let artists and fans connect with one another directly in Apple Music. Through Connect, artists can share lyrics, backstage photos and videos or release their latest songs directly to fans from an iPhone, while fans can comment or interact with artists through social media platforms.
Apple Watch Getting watchOS 2
The Apple Watch came out in late April, but it’s already getting an updated operating system to expand its capabilities for users. The new watchOS 2 software will be available in the fall and will bring new features and options as well as new tools to allow developers to add even more future functions, the company said.
Apple Watch Updates, Apple Music Service Debut at WWDC
Apple previewed the upcoming watchOS 2 version at WWDC, where Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology, highlighted some of its features, including tools that will give developers the ability to build faster, more powerful apps running natively on the Apple Watch.
Some new features are available immediately, including a Digital Crown control system, Taptic Engine capabilities, a heart-rate sensor and some new software APIs. The full watchOS 2 update will introduce a much wider range of improvements and changes, including new watch faces and new communications capabilities in the device’s Mail, Friends and Digital Touch apps.
New WatchKit tools give developers access to key hardware like the Digital Crown, Taptic Engine, heart-rate sensor, accelerometer and microphone so they can add features, while new software APIs enable audio and video playback and animation, according to Apple.
Among the new features that will be available to Apple Watch users when watchOS 2 is released are the ability to turn a favorite photo into a new watch face, as well as the ability to view changing pictures from a favorite photo album every time a user raises his or her wrist. A new Time-Lapse watch face will let users choose from a selection of time-lapse videos shot over 24 hours in iconic locations, including New York City, London or Shanghai.
Also slated for watchOS 2 is a Time Travel feature that lets wearers scroll using the Digital Crown knob to look forward or backward at upcoming calendar events, temperatures for the week or at information from third-party apps, such as upcoming flight details.