This week in San Francisco, Apple is running its Worldwide Developers Conference, which affords it even more ways to hog the technology news cycle by announcing many new tech developments. Let’s recap some of what’s going on.
Many pundits already accuse Apple’s WWDC as being a bit dull, filled with copycat moves such as offering multitasking on iPads (yawn). But, of course, the real news is the debut of the Apple Music subscription streaming music service, in a bid to take down market leader Spotify.
The Apple Music service launches on June 30 and will cost $9.99 a month, the same price as Spotify’s ad-free subscription service. Spotify raised $400 million earlier this year at an $8 billion valuation, so it is currently perceived as the leader in music streaming. As we reported in February, Spotify announced that it had reached 15 million paying subscribers and 60 million total users in January of this year.
A funny thing happened on the way to this multibillion-dollar level, though. Spotify still doesn’t make any money, many artists grouse that they can’t get paid from streaming music, and Jay Z just hates Spotify — really hates it — and is taking a huge risk to be on his own in streaming music.
What are people saying?
- Apple plans to use a large “human” element in the service, with DJs and a heavy radio model. This will include Beats 1, a 24/7 global radio network broadcasting from Los Angeles, New York, and London. Check out this interesting Guardian interview with Apple Music executives Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue, where they talk about favoring humans over algorithms.
- Gizmodo doesn’t know if Apple Music works, but says it looks way cool. So, as usual, Apple is going to try to win on coolness.
- Note: There is no “freemium” with Apple Music. Apple Music is subscription only. But you do get three months free, so isn’t that kind of freemium? See what Rolling Stone has to say.
So was there anything else at the WWDC? Here’s more of the wrap…
- Apple made a big effort to bring more women executives to the forefront, according to USA Today and Bloomberg.
- The Verge points out that most of Apple’s moves were catchup moves, including tweaks to the iOS that bring multi-tasking to the iPad.
- Apple announced it would boost support for more retail payment options with Apple Pay.
- The next Apple OS is OS X 10.11: El Capitan! New features include new hand gestures such as “shaking to enlarge mouse cursor” (wow, never thought of that) and the ability to split screens for multi-tasking.
- Apple Watch update: Apple announced a number of additions to the Apple Watch OS, such as the ability to respond to emails, watch videos, and make FaceTime audio calls straight from the Apple Watch. Read about it at TheNextWeb.
- Apple is taking its Swift programming language open-source, according to ZDnet.
Was there more? Oh, I’m sure there is more. You can spend all day reading Apple WWDC news. If you can’t get enough, there’s always The Wall Street Journal’s WWDC live blog.