With the release iOS 8.4 today, this is the perfect time to talk about the new Music app, which I’ve been playing with in iOS 9. I can’t talk about the new Apple Music features yet, but I can run through a quick tour of changes for those who manage music libraries on the iPad.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the app has gotten a complete visual overhaul, with many parts having taken inspiration from Apple’s own “Remote” app. There are a lot of frosted panels that take on the main colour of the album artwork, and a side panel navigation bar to help you scrub through whatever section you’re looking at (e.g. Artists, Albums, etc.).
A “Recently Added” section is pinned to the top of most sections, allowing you to see the most recent songs, albums, or artists you’ve added to your library. This should prove much more useful with an Apple Music subscription, as it’s very easy for a music library to snowball out of control when unlimited streaming and listening are introduced.
However, even if you don’t plan on subscribing to Apple Music, your parties and workouts will benefit from the addition of the “Up Next” feature. This one has been a long time coming, and it allows you to queue songs to play after the current one has ended. This is great for setting up your own, adjustable party mixes on-the-fly, or for creating your own custom way through your newest music.
This brings me to the last bit of today’s update, which is Beats1. I’ve never been a big radio person at all, but I was curious, and I listened to about an hour over lunch, and on my walk home. The DJs are all clear and charismatic and the quality was great over LTE, although it’s a little disarming to hear some of them speaking over the music at specific moments (all the while saying “I’ll let the music speak”). I’ll have to get used to that last bit. It is great to be able to glance at the current song and artist from Control Center, though, and I’m assuming “starring” a song will add it to my music library in Apple Music, but I’ll have to get my hands on that service to verify that.
Overall, iOS 8.4 seems like a fantastic new update. If you haven’t been prompted for an update yet, head to the Settings app on your iPad and head to General -> Software Update.
I’m very excited to get subscribe to Apple Music to give it a shot. I’ve been a Spotify user for almost a year now, but I’d gladly fork $10 over to Apple if it means I can have a single universal library across all of my devices.