A day with Beats 1: Eclectic, star-studded, but slightly meh

One of the best features of Apple Music in Beats 1.
Beats 1 Radio is live on Apple Music, but is it worth your time?
Photo: Apple

Open your iOS 8.4 Music app and start listening. Beats 1 radio went live today at 9 a.m. Pacific time or 12 p.m. Eastern time, one hour after the launch of Apple Music itself. But is it any good? I’m your fellow music lover here to answer that question in as much depth as possible based on some first impressions.

First, a little background: Apple’s own radio station billed as “programs from people who love music” will stay live 24/7, broadcasting in over 100 countries. The station promises interviews with A-list celebrities and even radio shows hosted by the celebrities themselves every so often. They’ll create their own playlists and mixes and broadcast some of their favorite tunes. Jaden Smith will have his own show, so prepare to have an existential crisis.

Apple Music coming to Sonos, but there’s bad news

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Soon you'll be able to blast Apple Music through your Sonos speakers.
Soon you'll be able to blast Apple Music through your Sonos speakers.
Photo: Sonos

There’s good news and bad news for Beats Music and future Apple Music users alike. Apple has confirmed that the new music service will arrive for Sonos apps and speakers, but unfortunately not right away. It turns out integration won’t be ready in time for the big launch tomorrow, June 30, but the two companies are working together to bring Apple Music to Sonos as soon as possible.

The one advantage Spotify has over Apple Music

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Apple-Music

Photo: Apple

Apple Music may come with a long list of advantages over rivals like Spotify — such as real radio and a super-affordable family plan — but there’s one thing it’s lagging behind on, and that’s music quality… or so it seems.

The highest bitrate Apple Music will offer is 256 kbps, which is lower than the 320 kbps offered by Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, and Apple’s own Beats Music service.

Apple Music puts a human face on the mess that music’s become

Jimmy Iovine talks up Apple Music at WWDC 2015.
Jimmy Iovine talks up Apple Music at WWDC 2015.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s big idea for transforming the way we experience music is bringing a personal touch — and a simple, unified platform — to the tangled technological mess that music’s become in 2015. Apple Music is classic Apple: putting a human face on technology that threatens to overwhelm us.

Tim Cook brought out high-profile artists, and Apple’s team of industry insiders, to show off what he called “the next chapter in music” today at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

“I know your are going to love it,” Cook said, introducing Apple Music. “It will change the way that you experience music forever.”

Here’s what Apple Music will bring to your ears.

What to expect from WWDC 2015

WWDC '15 inbound at Moscone West.
The countdown to WWDC 2015's big revelations begins.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With the Worldwide Developers Conference less than a week away, we’ve already got a pretty good idea about what Apple will reveal at this year’s conference.

The company focuses on developer-related products at the conference, but there are plenty of goodies that normals will go crazy for too, like the bevy of improvements coming to iOS 9, a new Apple TV and maybe even a new music streaming service.

Here’s what to expect from WWDC 2015, which runs June 8 to 12 at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (Cult of Mac will be liveblogging the Apple keynote, which starts at 10 a.m. Pacific next Monday, so be sure to check back then for news and instant analysis.)