Ap­ple ex­pected to turn up the mu­sic dial Mon­day

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE - BY GLENN CHAP­MAN

Ap­ple on Mon­day is ex­pected to un­veil a ramped up mu­sic ser­vice that builds on the iPhone maker’s strengths in a chal­lenge to Spo­tify, Pan­dora and other es­tab­lished play­ers.

In the big­gest over­haul of iTunes since it was launched in early 2003, the ser­vice was an­tic­i­pated to in­clude an op­tion of sub­scrib­ing to stream­ing mu­sic for US$10 monthly.

An­a­lysts and in­dus­try in­sid­ers be­lieve re­branded “Ap­ple Mu­sic” will be in­tro­duced on Mon­day dur­ing a key­note pre­sen­ta­tion kick­ing off the com­pany’s week­long Word- wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco.

While iTunes trans­formed the way mu­sic was dis­trib­uted and sold, it also put Ap­ple in a po­si­tion to build ex­ten­sive re­la­tion­ships with la­bels and artists.

The pop­u­lar­ity of iTunes and Ap­ple de­vices means that a broad au­di­ence could be pro­vided an easy way to sim­ply switch on the new mu­sic ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to Baker.

Ap­ple Mu­sic will likely have ben­e­fited from tal­ent and tech­nol­ogy ac­quired when Ap­ple bought Beats Elec­tron­ics and its stream­ing mu­sic ser­vice in a US$3 bil­lion deal in May last year.

An Ap­ple stream­ing mu­sic ser­vice would grab head­lines at an an­nual gath­er­ing at which the Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pany courts cre­ators of fun, hip or func­tional apps that help drive the pop­u­lar­ity of In­ter­net-linked mo­bile de­vices.

Google showed off an ar­ray of in­no­va­tions at its an­nual de­vel­op­ers con­fer­ence, which took place at the same down­town San Fran­cisco venue less than two weeks ago.

Time for Smart­watch Apps

Ap­ple will likely be keen to fuel en­thu­si­asm for mak­ing apps to run on its freshly launched line of smart­watches.

“I think we will see a fo­cus on do­ing new and un­usual things on Ap­ple Watch,” said in­de­pen­dent Sil­i­con Val­ley an­a­lyst Rob En­derle.

Ap­ple is likely to loosen the reins a bit on its smart­watch to let de­vel­op­ers cre­ate apps that work right on the wrist in­stead of on iPhones to which they are synched.

En­hance­ments were also ex­pected to Ap­ple Pay, which al­lows con­tact­less pay­ments with iPhones or smart­watches. Im­prove­ments could in­clude adding the abil­ity to track re­wards pro­gram in­for­ma­tion.

“Ap­ple’s role in the pay­ments ecosys­tem is still un­proven and of ques­tion­able value at this time,” said For­rester an­a­lyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

“What they an­nounce will help de­ter­mine if Ap­ple Pay moves from the nice-to-have bucket to the must-have bucket for both mer­chants and shop­pers.”

For­rester an­a­lyst Thomas Husson con­sid­ered lack of sup­port for mer­chants’ loy­alty pro­grams a “miss­ing piece” of Ap­ple Pay and a top fea­ture con­sumers want in a mo­bile wal­let.

For­rester pre­dicts U.S. mo­bile pay­ments will top US$142 bil­lion by 2019, up from US$67 bil­lion this year.

Baker

Siri Smarts

will be watch­ing

for Ap­ple to im­prove Siri vir­tual as­sis­tant to bet­ter chal­lenge Google Now and Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana.

“I am hop­ing that is the case, be­cause I think Siri is a dis­tant third right now when it comes to vir­tual as­sis­tants,” Baker said.

Google showed off a keenly up­graded Now on Tap tai­lored for its next gen­er­a­tion An­droid soft­ware for mo­bile de­vices that bet­ter an­tic­i­pates tasks peo­ple want tended to.

Ap­ple may also show off im­proved pri­vacy pro­tec­tion fea­tures in its soft­ware, in keep­ing with strong public com­ments made in re­cent weeks by Tim Cook.

And, true to the de­vel­oper theme of the gath­er­ing, Ap­ple will dive deeply into fea­tures of com­ing gen­er­a­tion soft­ware for its com­put­ers and mo­bile de­vices.

Ap­ple de­vices re­main pre­mier venues for de­vel­op­ers to fea­ture their cre­ations, but Google-backed An­droid soft­ware has gained ground in the battle for de­vo­tion of app mak­ers.

About 62 per­cent of de­vel­oper teams sup­port An­droid smartphones or tablets com­pared to 48 per­cent tun­ing ap­pli­ca­tions to iPhones or iPads, ac­cord­ing to re­search firm For­rester.

chief

ex­ec­u­tive

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