iCloud Music Q&A

I am debating whether to enable iCloud Music Library on my iPhone after realising that this doesn’t effect my iTunes Music Library (by not enabling it on my Mac). Thanks to Serenity Caldwell for clarifying this on yesterday’s iMore Podcast.

I have some questions and wondered if there are any definitive answers as I don’t want to be a ‘beta tester’.

Update

Serenity has been in touch and as usual has very kindly answered my questions (as well as answering many other people’s)!

Her answers are under each question.

So here they are:

  • What happens to my iTunes purchased music video’s that are on my stored on my iPhone? Apple doesn’t mention that these on their support document.

“With your Apple Music membership, you can access your music library on your devices. When you sign in to Apple Music on any of your devices, you can see your library in My Music.

Your music library includes:

songs, albums, and playlists that you added from the Apple Music catalog;”

Serenity: Purchased Music Video’s and Content are Syncing for her.

  • Once iCloud Music Library is enabled on my iPhone device can I still do a full back up of my iPhone using iTunes?

Serenity: You can still back up your iPhone just not add music to it.

  • I have over the past 8 years had 3 different email accounts to buy iTunes music. To play those songs on my Mac I have to authorise my Mac to play them. Will enabling iCloud Music Library prevent those particular older purchased songs from playing on my iPhone?

Serenity: You can fix this by using iTunes Match on the Mac by downloading all the songs, then uploading them and redownloading them.

I actually don’t want to touch my iTunes library on my Mac. My only reason for wanting to enable iCloud Music Library is to save music for offline use like I can do with Spotify.

  • Does enabling iCloud Music Library on my iPhone effect any other of my iOS devices that I don’t enable?

Serenity: Enabling iCloud Music Library will only affect the device in question. You have to manually enable iCloud Music Library on any other devices.

This is a new very complex music service that Apple has launched and of course there will be bugs and problems that will in time get fixed. In the meantime I do hope that Apple provide a full user guide with the most common questions and possibly walkthrough videos explaining how Apple Music works in a similar vain to the great job they did with the Apple Watch Guided Tours.

Thanks for reading and if you have any answers to my questions please send me a tweet or answer them in the comment section below.

Rob

Saving music for offline use

I am thoroughly enjoying Apple Music and in particular Beats 1. It’s seriously good as are Apple’s curated playlists.

It’s too early to judge whether I’ll be switching over completely from Spotify after my 3 months free trial ends but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say no and for one reason. Offline use.

The killer feature for me with Spotify is being able to save any song, album or playlist for offline usage with simplicity. This is great for when I go for walks or travel on the Tube without a data connection. Apple Music does provide an offline feature too but with a caveat. You must enable iCloud Music Library in order to save any music as Apple explains in a support document.

‘To add songs, albums and playlists from Apple Music to My Music, make sure that iCloud Music Library is enabled on your device.’

From what I can gather this works in a similar way to iTunes Match which I have been burned by before particularly with duplicating or removing playlists. From what I have read on some discussion forum sites the same issues I had with iTunes Match are still happening with others taking the plunge and enabling iCloud Music Library. If it just worked in theory it could be one of the best features of Apple Music as there would be one place to have all my music in one place on all my devices but I am not ready to give it a try. Yet.

My curated playlists are too important to me.

update 1

I do regular backup’s both to an external hard drive and via Backblaze but restoring my music after my iTunes Match debacle wasn’t straightforward. (My music in the cloud kept downloading to my iTunes library after switching iTunes Match off)

update 2

Some useful information below from Kirk McElhearn via The Loop on the difference between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library

Both match your iTunes library and store your purchases. Both allow you to access these files, and listen to them, on multiple devices. But with iTunes Match, when you download a matched or uploaded file, you get either the iTunes Store matched copy, or the copy that iTunes uploaded of your original file.

When you match and download files from iCloud Music Library, however, you get files with DRM; the same kind of files you get when you download files from Apple Music for offline listening.

Apple Music Take One

Jim Dalrymple over at the Loop has both a first look at Apple Music and an interview with Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine.

Jim is passionate about music as well as Apple. He has been critical of iTunes Radio over the past few months but clearly likes a lot of what he has seen and heard so far from using Apple Music. That’s good enough for me to give it a try later today. Think there’s a good chance that Apple’s new Music App may well get back on my iPhone first home screen just like old times.

Sweet bitter Sweet

It may be 8 years ago that the iPhone went on sale in the USA but across the pond we (I) had to wait until November 9th at 18.02 on a cold winter evening to get my hands on one.

Here’s my short story…

I saved up for months to buy the original ‘Jesus Phone’ and read review after review some good and some saying it will never take off and be D.O.A. I’ve always been a stubborn bugger and don’t follow the sheep either way and decided to trust my instinct and get one.

First the question was where to go. In the U.K. it was available at Apple Retail stores and o2 the only carrier to take a punt on it from the get go. I decided that the queues could be enormous at the Apple Retail Store in Regent Street so decided to phone up my local O2 store in the week before the launch to make sure they would be stocking it. They got to know me (no doubt pissed off with me for checking and double checking availability) and at midday on November 9th 2007 Rob decides to start queuing. I say queuing, as for 5 hours and 30 minutes I was the only person in the ‘queue’ while the shop closed in preparation for the big launch. In that last 30 minutes before the shop opened I was freezing cold, the rain was wet but the other 5 people and me waiting for the doors to open were like kids on Christmas Eve. We were chatting all about what it would be like and more importantly would they have enough of them to go round. At 18.02 like clockwork the doors opened and I ran in and said please can you take my £270, pass my credit check and let me take the iPhone 8Gb back to chez Rob. The o2 staff were more than happy to oblige and probably glad to see the back of me for another year! So I walked 2 miles home and just looked at this box that I had been hoping to have in my possession for 10 months from the original unforgettable announcement by Steve Jobs at MacWorld.

The unboxing was sublime and at 20.30 I had everything synced via iTunes on my iBook and made my first call to my dad but beginning to feel a bit unwell which I put down to standing in the cold for so many hours. He said that I didn’t sound myself and I replied worryingly ‘what do you mean is my iPhone not working’? Anyway it was but I wasn’t. After playing around with that gorgeous ‘Touch to Unlock’ screen and going on mobile safari checking the live blogs from other Apple centric and mainstream news websites I realised that as amazing as this phone was I needed to get some fresh air as I was feeling pretty poorly and burning up.

I went a few metres away to my local (rather rough) high street with my bus pass, iPhone and wallet and felt very faint. I wasn’t thinking clearly and just caught the first bus I saw that was heading in the direction to my parents house. I remember sitting towards the back of the bus looking out of the window at some late night kebab shops and then the next thing I remember was 2 days later very confused in hospital. I don’t recall what I said but according to my dad it was along the lines of where the fuck am I and have you got my iPhone!

I will spare you the details of what was wrong with me but to this day I will always remember the day I got my first iPhone for 2 reasons. Firstly the anticipation and excitement to be one of the first people in the UK to get one but secondly that when I fell unconscious on the floor of the bus and broke my nose there were obviously some very kind people looking out for me and my iPhone.

Back to the iPod?

The Apple Watch is catching up with demand and is now available to purchase at Apple Retail Stores via reservations and is coming to other countries in the coming week.

Most early adopters will have received theirs now and from what I have read and heard, opinions are mainly positive about it. Personally I love it as you can read in previous posts and I know that with watch OS2 and native apps it will get even better. I do have some concerns thoughts as to the future of it which I want to discuss. Continue reading

Curated App Store List

I wrote a few weeks ago that maybe Apple would do away with the list view of top selling paid/free/grossing app lists and make it more akin to how app’s are presented on the store for the Watch App Store on the iPhone with no lists. IMG_3194

This wasn’t announced at WWDC so it doesn’t seem likely that it will be unveiled when iOS 9 is released this Fall. I am heavily invested in the App Store and like to try and support developers who have grafted away for months or years to produce useful and quality apps. I listen to many tech podcasts and follow sites like Macstories  & The Loop partly to discover amazing apps like Overcast. There has been so much news and opinions over the past weekend regarding the free 3 months trial for Apple Music which is now seemingly resolved  with Apple deciding to do the right thing and pay artists during this trial period. Apple is increasingly showing that they are  both listening and being more open. Case in point Phil Schiller’s interview with John Gruber on The Talk Show. Music is often cited as in Apple’s DNA and I wouldn’t argue with that. I don’t think it’s any stretch to say that opening up the iPhone to enable native Apps in 2008 helped to make the iPhone the huge success it is today. Continue reading

Thoughts on Apple Music

Apple changed the way we both listened and bought music with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes. I, like millions of others bought into that in a big way by buying all my music and more through iTunes and listening to it firstly on my iPod and then my iPhone. For some reason I have never really listened to music much on my iPad. Actually I think the reason for this is that I am quite private about the types of music I listen to and want to hear it through my headphones and get lost in the music and lyrics. The iPhone like the iPod is perfect for this. I created so many custom playlists on iTunes for many moods and it all just worked until iTunes Match was launched in the U.K. and created havoc with them. To me music and photos are so personal and emotive and when that happened I was literally in tears. It felt like my memories had been erased for good and my love affair with iTunes changed immediately. I lost trust in it and decided to look for an alternative solution.

That solution after trying out various streaming services available in the U.K. was Spotify. It felt a big change in my life as from the mid 1980’s when I bought my first cassette album (Actually by The Pet Shop Boys) I had always had a physical copy of a single or album until I started buying and downloading music via iTunes. Even then, it still felt I was actually ‘owning’ my music albeit in a different format. Spotify is different. You never ‘own’ that music. You either stream it or if you pay the monthly premium price you can save it to listen to offline. It took me a while to figure out how to work my way around the application on both my Mac and iPhone. In my opinion it’s far from perfect and could do with a lot of ‘Apple Polish’ but it has become my goto music app. I have countless playlists most of which I have created/curated and not shared. It is pretty good for discovery and I am now heavily invested in it.

It’s no secret that Apple has come late to the streaming music business. Apple so often comes late to an existing market and both disrupts it and makes it a huge success. So the big question for me is whether to give Apple Music a shot.

Here are my reservations and questions:

  • Will the new music app in iOS 8.4 be intuitive and easy to use?
  • Apple has documented that music from iTunes will live in the cloud and music that is not in the iTunes Catalog will be uploaded from your Mac/PC. This scares me after my experience with my playlists using iTunes Match not to mention the time it might take for those particular songs to be uploaded using my slow wifi network.
  • Will the discovery/curation be good enough for my non mainstream and eclectic taste?

By far the biggest hurdle though is this one…

  • Having to start from scratch again in creating the 35 playlists I have created in Spotify!

Will I give Apple Music a try? Yes but with trepidation and not excitement which is unusual for me when buying or trying out a new Apple product. The free 3 months trial is a great enticement but Apple please don’t screw up my music again.

iCloud Storage Prices

There has been some discussion and disappointment that there was no mention of iCloud Storage prices at WWDC. My take is that this is a developer conference and unless Apple were changing CloudKit prices for developers there was no need to announce it during the developer keynote. If there is an upcoming change in the pricing to iCloud storage for consumers it would make more sense to highlight it at the iPhone event this fall. That is the arguably Apple’s main consumer focus event of the year and with iCloud so central to the iPhone that’s the place to sell it. Here’s how it could pan out. ‘ We know how much you use your iPhone as your primary camera to capture all your photos and memories so we want to make every photo you take both safe, secure and easier to store in the cloud. Now with iCloud all the photos you take on your iPhone will be free to store in iCloud on the Web, Mac and all your iOS devices using Photos.’ Update John Gruber talking to Phil Schiller on The Talk Show yesterday from The Verge

“The belief is more and more as we use iCloud services for documents and our photos and videos and music,” he said, “that perhaps the most price-conscious customers are able to live in an environment where they don’t need gobs of local storage because these services are lightening the load.”

Whether or not the base iPhone storage capacities get increased in their next update I wouldn’t be surprised to see a more competitive iCloud pricing strategy announcement this fall.

Apple Pay for the U.K. could be announced at WWDC

The Telegraph sources are saying that Apple Pay will be introduced to the U.K. during the summer and announced at WWDC next week.

Apple is poised to reveal that it is planning to launch Apple Pay, its contactless mobile payments service, in Britain this summer.

The Silicon Valley giant is expected to make the announcement on Monday in San Francisco at its annual jamboree for software developers, industry sources say. The service will be switched on in around two months, they said.

It will mark a major development for the payments industry. Multiple attempts by mobile operators and banks to get contactless mobile payments up and running in Britain have failed amid industry infighting and consumer indifference.

Mike Cowan, a senior executive at MasterCard, said the company was “absolutely ready” to support Apple Pay in the UK.

Source The Telegraph

Update

Apple announced yesterday that Apple Pay will be coming to the U.K. in July and available at many well known High Street retailers including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, SubWay as well as Transport for London. Many major U.K. banks will be on board but Barclays is the one major notable omission from the initial rollout. According to their Twitter Account they are currently in constructive talks with Apple so watch this space.

H/T Dave Mark