Apple Music and The State of Apple “Innovation”

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Up until I bought my first MacBook Pro around 2007-2008, I was a huge Windows person. I took pride in the fact that I knew more about the Windows Operating system than most of the people I know (XP at the time), but eventually I just got sick of having to fix a bunch of computers, reformat things all the time, deal with virus’, etc., so I decided to switch to Apple. I still ran boot camp for a long time to still have that connection to Windows, but eventually I was able to ditch it and have never looked back.

Now I don’t force Apple on anyone, I don’t knock Windows PC’s or anything to do with them. I still know a lot of people that use them and love them, and they are far superior for gaming in pretty much every way. I just enjoy the setup I have now and continue to move forward with it. Who knows, in the next 10 years I might switch back to a PC and ditch Apple altogether, but not just for the sake of doing so, but because Apple hasn’t been the same since Steve Jobs died, and possibly even a touch before then. They’ve just sort of become a copy-cat company that takes what other people are already doing, and markets it to their legions of fans in a way that they eat it up like candy.

In saying that, I realize that even Steve Jobs has just been copying ideas and improving on them over the years, making them more user friendly and “prettier”. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market by a long shot, but it did improve on what the other guys were doing. The iPhone wasn’t the first touch screen phone on the market, and the iOS certainly wasn’t the first mobile OS to use the icon based system. And the iPad most definitely was not the first tablet to come to market. And let’s not get started on the Apple Watch, but there was definitely something to be said by the way Apple marketed their products and improved on various subtitles to enhance the overall user experience and tie everything together under one roof. And that is what I like about Apple in general, but with the introduction of Apple Music, and the minute steps forward in improving their phones and other devices, it’s starting to seem like Apple is slipping a bit.

I know there are only so many things you can really do with phones and tablets these days, but the big marketing points that Apple seems to be introducing into their devices as of late; bigger screens, better resolution, higher quality cameras, NFC payment technology, etc., have all been done on Android phones for years already, and to some degree, some of those things are still done way better on Android phones. I don’t care what anyone says, the cameras on some of these Android phones are way better than the Apple camera, and I love my iPhone 6. Take a newer Android phone to a concert along with an iPhone and tell me which takes better photos. It’s not even close. I get embarrassed when I hold up my phone at a concert to snap a quick picture and see how shitty the quality is compared to the guy in front of me taking one on his Android phone. But phones aside, the biggest thing, as of late, that Apple has tried to revolutionize is the Music Industry… again.

Apple definitely changed the game with iTunes and the digital music marketplace, there’s no denying that, but their attempt to be the savior of streaming music has fallen way short, and it’s disappointing. As there usually are when Apple decides to release something new, there are already a handful of major players in the streaming music subscription service game. Rdio, Spotify, Tidal, etc., have all existed in this space for a while now (although Tidal is fairly new), when Apple decides it want a piece of the pie and buys up Beats Audio for their Beats streaming service.

Ok, that’s cool, an Apple streaming service would be fine, but I already have Spotify so they’d have to introduce some really slick interface or feature for me to switch. Oh, no free tier of streaming from my computer… only $9.99/mo, alright so far I’m sticking with Spotify.  But a $15/mo plan that gets up to 6 family members access to all the streaming music… now I’m starting to see the benefit there. Oh you’re going to try to make this fancy interface that’s built into iTunes and revamp “Ping” as a new area called “Connect” and then lay everything out in a weird convoluted way that’s confusing as hell. There’s nothing super innovative here so I’m not quite sure what the draw is.

Oh, and there’s one more thing? I hope it’s some killer feature that doesn’t exist anywhere else like only Apple can do… oh… it’s just a radio station that plays weird random music that I don’t want to listen to and has “worldwide DJ’s” that broadcast 24 hours a day… hmmm, that doesn’t really seem like a killer feature to me. Beats 1 radio is probably the dumbest selling point to a streaming music service that I could possibly think of. I would rather pay for satellite radio and get access to a bunch of different radio stations with various genres and DJs than listen to one radio station that broadcasts 24/7.

Now I know that the Beats 1 Radio station is free, so you don’t have to have an Apple Music subscription to listen to it, but it just doesn’t seem that spectacular to me. I know the type of music I like, so I’d much rather use their genre radio section and just listen to a particular genre of music without DJs or interviews or exclusives or any of that stuff, but maybe I’m in the minority here. Either way, I’ve signed up for the free 3-month trial of Apple Music just to give it a go, but after a week with it, I’ve already just found myself going back to Spotify. When the 3-month trial of Apple Music ends, I don’t think I’ll be renewing it, but I do have iTunes match, so I can still access all of my ripped and purchased music on my phone to stream whenever I want.

So is it just me? I’m I the only one that was an Apple fan and am now starting to be disappointed with the things they are announcing? I think they just set the bar so high for so long that the things they are doing these days are just falling short. I’m not counting them out, I’m sure it’s just a slow period, and I can’t wait to see what they do come up with in the future when their next revolution comes, but for now we’re just kinda riding this wave of implementing features that have been around on other devices/softwares for years now; they are playing catch-up it seems. Hell, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’ve been blown away with some of the stuff that Microsoft is doing surrounding their Xbox platform; how cool is that hololens thing?

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