Archive for March 9, 2023

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Apple Music Classical Pre-Order

Hartley Charlton:

Apple’s long-awaited dedicated classical music app today appeared on the App Store and is available for pre-order ahead of its launch at the end of March.

Sarah Perez (Hacker News):

The company’s decision to target classical music listeners with a standalone app is a differentiator for its Apple Music subscription service — though it’s one that’s quite different from the features rival Spotify announced this week, which had involved tech-forward features like AI and video-based discovery feeds.

Instead, Apple Music Classical will present a simple interface for engaging with classical works. Users will be able to search by composer, work, conductor or even catalog number, to locate recordings. These can be streamed in high-quality audio of up to 192 kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless. And thousands of recordings will be available in Apple’s immersive spatial audio, as well.

There’s no additional charge for Apple Music Classical as it’s being shipped as part of the Apple Music subscription. The app will be available to subscribers across plans, including the Individual ($10.99/mo), Student ($5.99/mo), Family ($16.99/mo) plans, and in the Apple One bundles.

Hartley Charlton:

Apple says that it has been working with classical music artists and institutions to offer exclusive content and recordings in Apple Music Classical, including Hi-Res Losless and Spatial Audio tracks.

The app’s design is based on Apple Music, but with a simplified UI that heavily uses Apple’s New York font instead of SF Pro.


There is no version of Apple Music Classical for iPadOS, making it an iPhone-only app.

An Android version of Apple Music Classical is in the works and set to arrive “soon,” according to Apple.

Steven Woolgar:

It says there will not be an iPad app, but there will be an Android app. It doesn’t say anything about macOS.

I don’t know what to think that Apple has prioritized Android over iPad. As an iPad user and music lover I am not too impressed.

They’ve got Catalyst and SwiftUI, but the second platform to be supported will be Android? And what about HomePod?

Jason Snell:

As I learned years ago from Macworld contributor Kirk McElhearn, classical music fans have some very specific needs that aren’t well served by the pop-music-oriented design of Apple Music (and all the way back to iTunes, for that matter). Hence the need for a dedicated app. (It’s unclear to me if a Mac app is in the works, however.)

Dave B.:

On the one hand, I’m glad it’s finally coming.

On the other hand, if you look at the screenshots on the App Store, it looks like it has the exact same design as the normal Apple Music app.

I had been hoping the long delay to Apple Music Classical was the result of Apple building a newly designed Classical app, and then applying those updated designs to the regular Music app so that they could both be released together with a new, improved design.

By the looks of it, that’s not the case. If Apple Music Classical looks exactly like the current Apple Music app, that means it’s less likely that Apple is actually redesigning the current app. That’s immensely disappointing to me.

And I guess the classical-focused UI improvements won’t be available for already purchased music, only via subscription.


Update (2023-03-10): Rui Carmo:

Sometimes I wonder if Apple really has a services strategy instead of a bunch of tiny, disjointed little teams that appear to operate in a completely isolated way without thinking about how and end customer would use all their services across all of their devices.

Indie Success

David Smith:

Widgetsmith has just achieved a remarkable milestone, surpassing 100 million downloads since its launch in September 2020. A number that I can’t really wrap my mind around. A number larger than the population of all but 14 countries (🤯).


The success of Widgetsmith was made possible by the amazing platform Apple has made and the amazing users it has attracted.


It took me a long time to get here, Widgetsmith was the 59th app I launched over 12 years, and there are no guarantees that anything we make will ever find its audience.


2022 Apple Vision Accessibility Report Card

AppleVis (via Steven Aquino):

To gather the ratings and comments contained in the report card, we conducted a comprehensive survey where participants rated their experience using Apple’s various platforms with the available vision accessibility features on a scale of 1 to 5. Additionally, we invited participants to provide detailed written feedback and suggestions for enhancing Apple’s vision accessibility features and user experience. The survey also included questions that assessed Apple’s performance in addressing vision-related bugs, as well as the new vision accessibility features added in 2022.

The report card below presents a summary of the survey results, showcasing the areas where Apple excels and where there is room for improvement. It also includes a selection of participant comments, providing further insight into the specific challenges and opportunities related to Apple’s vision accessibility offerings.

There are lots of complaints about VoiceOver on macOS.


EU Narrowing the Spotify Antitrust Case

Joe Rossignol:

The European Commission today announced it has narrowed its antitrust investigation into Apple’s rules for streaming music apps. In a revised Statement of Objections sent to Apple, the Commission said it will no longer challenge Apple’s requirement for apps to use the App Store’s in-app purchase system for digital goods and services. […] The investigation will now focus entirely on Apple preventing streaming music apps from informing iPhone and iPad users within the app that lower subscription prices are available when signing up outside of the App Store.

John Gruber (Dithering):

I’ve thought all along that most of the EC’s probe against Apple was overreaching (the stuff about opening up IAP in particular), but Apple’s anti-steering provisions are wrong and either already are illegal or should be made illegal.