If you had spoken to me earlier this month, I would have told you that I was definitely going to be leaving Apple Music and returning to Spotify. It’s not the fact that I don’t “own” my music, because $10 for unlimited streaming and offline access (as long as I stay a subscriber) seems quite fair to me. Rather, it’s the implementation of Apple Music within iOS 9 that doesn’t feel right.
Simple things like the difficulty I have in seeing the list of songs in my currently playing album. This was never an issue when I synced with iTunes or used iTunes in the Cloud. But tapping the three dots (•••) and tapping on the album art doesn’t always work. Sometimes I’m just brought to an empty album that reads *null*. Having this happen multiple times over the course of a week has definitely put a dent in my desire to explore the service further.
Then there are instances of the iTunes versions of songs being different from what I had in my own library. A slight remix, starker instrumentals — you notice very quickly when a song you’ve listened to for years is suddenly different. I swear the Lost In Translation OST on iTunes is different than I remember.
But then I thought about the alternatives. None of the nearest competitors, like Spotify or Rdio, can currently interact with Siri. That means I can’t utter commands like “play more songs like this” or “play the song ABC”. That only works in the first-party Music app, and I love having that convenience around.
Then there’s the fact that I own an Apple Watch, and although it doesn’t communicate with my iPad, it has quickly become one of my favourite ways to choose and pause my music. I could skip and pause songs that play from my Rdio/Spotify through the Watch, but there’s no interface to choose specific artists or albums. Once again, Apple’s own apps and services hold the advantage here.
I try to keep things iPad specific when I write here, but that doesn’t seem like the best way to discuss a service like Apple Music that is so integrated with all of the devices I own. That’s ultimately what is keeping me on as a subscriber, at least for the next few months, as I give the device a chance to improve. There are a number of kinks to work out, but it’s hard to beat how well the entire service is baked into iOS.