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Apple Music feels at home on Android, but it's missing a few things

Andrew Hayward | Nov. 12, 2015
Far from a quick-and-dirty iOS port, the music service looks and acts like a proper Android app.

Apple Music also has intriguing recommendations elsewhere in the app, notably in the For You tab. I like the themed playlists that relate to something I’ve listened to: a list of tracks from a rising hip-hop producer, for example, or all the collaborations a certain artist has done. The many human-created playlists provide additional means of finding great new stuff, and it’s always great to find a well-crafted, thoughtful collection of tracks.

applemusic android nowplayingplaylist
Curated playlists help you find intriguing new tracks, explore genres of all sorts, and dig into an artist’s library.

Connect should be a major feature of Apple Music, but it’s underwhelming. It’s positioned as a social link between artists and their fans, letting bands and musicians share content and updates with fans, but many just use it to blandly promote music videos or singles with links. And when Coldplay posts a photo from the studio, for example, it still feels like part of a calculated PR cycle—not a genuine moment that they just couldn’t wait to share with fans. Given the lack of significant interaction on the user side of things, as well, Connect just isn’t a terribly exciting feature.

Music videos are also included in Apple Music, although the selection is spotty—and more importantly, they’re not on Android just yet. Apple Music is branded a “beta” for Android right now, and music videos are the biggest feature omission. Given that Google just bundled ad-free YouTube Red with Play Music’s subscription plan, Apple might not want to wait too long to bring its own video offerings to Android. 

And while this might seem less important to Android users on the surface, one of Apple Music’s biggest strengths is that it exists within the Apple ecosystem. That means you have the ability to access the music in your iTunes computer library on your Android phone via iCloud Music Library. Anything not already found on Apple Music is uploaded to the cloud for you to use anywhere and anytime—so long as your subscription remains intact. For anyone with a big local iTunes library they want accessible on the go, that’s a big benefit.

Made for Android

Apple Music is a nicely attractive app on iOS, with a brighter color palette than Spotify, along with large, striking use of album artwork. But navigation can be truly confusing, thanks to loads of options and no clear path through menus at times. So maybe it’s for the best that the Android version isn’t simply a quick port of the iPhone release.

applemusic android newforyou
Much of the iOS design is retained, but Apple has embraced familiar Android UI and navigational elements.

 

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