Do more with your music
Going social and getting collaborative – sounds good to us
Apple seems to have realized that, for many of us, the social side of music is much more personal than following favorite artists or curators and reading what they post to Apple Music’s Connect service. So in iOS 11’s Music app, as long as you have an Apple Music subscription, you can stay up to date with what your real friends are listening to by looking under the heading “Friends are listening to” in the For You page.
This feature at last puts your customizable Apple Music profile to more use than just for the attribution of your comments on artists’ posts. You can set your profile to be private or public, choose which playlists are shared with friends, and your and your friends’ chosen profile pictures are displayed as attribution on items in the aforementioned row in For You.
The biggest news concerning music is the announcement of a new Apple-branded speaker called HomePod. This is the first speaker under the Apple brand since 2006’s short-lived iPod Hi-Fi. As well as putting out room-filling sound, HomePod contains an array of six microphones that enable you to give commands by speaking to Siri. HomePod also supports AirPlay 2, an updated version of Apple’s media-streaming protocol that supports multiroom audio. You can read more about HomePod starting on page 68.
An Apple Music sub also unlocks collaborative playlist creation when you have a friend visiting; several people can queue tracks over AirPlay 2 without interrupting what you’re listening to.
Apple has also announced that AirPlay 2 will be supported by Apple TV, on which you’ll be able to control multiroom music playback from the Siri Remote or by speaking to the virtual assistant.
Finally, Apple has introduced a new framework for app developers, MusicKit, that enables their apps and games to be given full access to your library, including tracks that are stored in the cloud. Apps will be able to create playlists, add to your library, plus search playlists, stations, and Apple Music’s 40-million strong catalog (if you subscribe to the service). We’re hoping this enhancement spurs developers into offering stronger, more capable alternatives to iOS’s built-in Music app.