Apple has announced a music streaming service called Apple Music, offering a combination of music streaming, downloads and internet radio
Apple has teamed up with rap superstars Drake and Pharrell to launch a music streaming service designed to compete with Spotify at its annual developers conference in San Francisco.
Apple Music is the Californian company’s first foray into music streaming, having shaped the digital downloads market with the launch of the iTunes store in 2003, and will be available for $9.99 a month with an initial three-month free trial.
“Music is such an important part of our lives, and our culture,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook. “Apple Music will change the way you experience music forever.”
The star-studded service has been created in collaboration with Beats, whom Apple purchased in May last year for $3bn (£1.8bn), and will be available for iOS users from later this month.
Music mogul Jimmy Iovine, who co-founded Beats with rapper Dr Dre, called it a revolutionary music service manned by experts which will benefit the up-and-coming artists in their bedroom as much as the established acts.
Former Radio One DJ Zane Lowe is among several presenters who will man digital live radio station Beats 1, broadcast from New York, Los Angeles and London across the world.
Around 7m individuals in the UK pay for music streaming subscriptions, while the number of digital download customers has declined by 2m since last year.
“There is definitely an appetite among iTunes users for this kind of service - over 20pc of them already stream compared to 14pc on average,” said Andy Saxton, consumer retail analyst at Kantar Worldpanel. “Yet with nearly three quarters currently using Spotify, the challenge for Apple will be to convert these users to their own platform.”
The company also showcased its latest software developments for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Macs, alongside the long-awaited launch date for Apple Pay in the UK, which has been available for US users since last October.
Apple’s head of e-commerce Jennifer Bailey announced Apple Pay’s introduction to the UK, linked with Halifax, Natwest and Santander among other banks and retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Waitrose from July. Users will also be able to use the contactless payment system on TfL to travel around London on the bus and train network and Underground. Apple has also collaborated with company Square to produce a new reader for the system, available from the Autumn.
Apple also launched iOS 9, the latest software update for iPhone and iPad, featuring significant updates to digital assistant Siri, which now answers more than one billion voice requests per week.
Asking Siri to display ‘photos from London last June’ will instantly return all pictures taking during this period, and returns search information drawn from news publications, Wikipedia and content from your own device.
New app News collates content from multiple news sources personalised to each individual users, allowing them to swipe between articles embedded with videos and animations based on interests and personal preferences.
Senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi introduced new Mac software OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which sported advanced search capabilities and side-by-side window management designed to enhance experience and performance.
Cook talked the crowd through WatchOS 2, the new platform to help developers create native apps specifically for running independently on the Apple Watch itself, instead of batting back to its paired iPhone. Users can now set their own photos or time-lapse photography as watch face backgrounds, and further customise their own background to include sports scores or other bits of information.
The App Store has seen more than 100bn app downloads, with the average individual downloading 119 apps, the company said.