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 may be a streaming service, but you won’t always need an Internet connection to enjoy it. Apple has confirmed that you’ll also be able to download songs for offline listening, so you can enjoy albums and playlists when you’re on the road without data.
Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Apple is expected to announce its long-awaited music streaming service during the WWDC keynote later today, and despite tough competition from the likes of Spotify, the company has incredibly ambitious plans to sign up 100 million subscribers.
Sony Music CEO Doug Morris says Apple Music is “happening tomorrow.”
When Apple unveils its revamped music service Monday, it will mark a “tipping point” for mass acceptance of streaming over downloads, predicts Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.
The new streaming service, which Morris says will be unveiled tomorrow at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, will challenge on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Rdio thanks to a very particular set of skills Cupertino has acquired over the years.
Spotify now has a whopping 60 million active listeners, 15 million of which are paying for a Spotify Premium subscription, the European company confirmed today. Spotify has added around 2.5 million paying subscribers in just two months — and that’s despite being given the boot by Taylor Swift.
Google today announced a new Apple AirPlay competitor called Google Cast, which lets you stream audio from a whole bunch of popular apps to Cast-compatible speakers. The search giant has teamed up with a number of popular services for its launch, including Pandora, Rdio, and NPR One.
The Rdio app just got better than ever. Photo: Rdio.
If you’re an Rdio user, great news. The official iOS app has just been updated to optimize the music-streaming service for iOS 8. And it gets even better if you happen to have an automobile with CarPlay installed.
Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3