Apple Music was worth the wait. Amidst a marketing frenzy and controversy over royalty payments and Taylor Swift's feelings, it was easy to forget that few people had actually used Apple's new streaming service. Apple finally launched Music on June 30, and it was everything we expected it to be (plus a few surprises thrown in for good measure).
Whether you're giving streaming a try for the first time or just weighing the pros and cons of Apple's service against rivals like Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, and Pandora, there's nothing to lose by taking Apple Music for a spin. Let's get started.
Once you upgrade to iOS 8.4, diving right into Apple Music is simple. The revamped Music app appears in your iOS device's dock. Open it up, and you're greeted with subscription options. You have to pick between a $9.99 individual subscription and $14.99 family plan, then enter your Apple ID username and password. The subscription will auto-renew when your free 3-month trial ends, but you don't have to set a calendar reminder to cancel on Sept. 30. You can turn off auto-renew straight from the Music app by tapping on Account > Apple ID > Manage Subscriptions. You'll still be able to enjoy your free trial even if your flirtation with Apple Music is just temporary.
Apple Music mimics Beats Music's get-to-know-you process by having you tap on genre bubbles to winnow out the stuff you hate and learn what you love. Then it serves up more bubbles with specific artists to really hone in on your preferences. The service uses those indicators, plus your liberal use of the heart button on the songs you want to hear over and over again, to populate the For You section.
For a detailed walkthrough on setting up Apple Music, check out our guide here. Now let's explore the five tabs that make up Music's menu, pinned to the bottom of your screen.
I knew it was love when I tapped on For You and Apple Music served up a hip-hop workout mix called "Trappin' on the Treadmill," which is perfect for my early morning runs, and a playlist of Beyoncé and Jay-Z collaborations. It was sort of astounding how well the app knew me. I've been using Spotify for years and it's never greeted me with such tailored recommendations--and all it took was tapping on a few bubbles.
I expect this section to become more robust as it learns more about my tastes, but the curated playlists and album recommendations For You offers are on part with other streaming services, and reminded me of Beats Music's editorial point-of-view.
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