Apple is taking aim at subscription music services such as Spotify and Rhapsody with Apple Music, a new music app/streaming service that will feature a 24/7 live radio station called Beats 1.
The service, to launch in more than 100 countries on June 30, will fetch $9.99 per month for an individual subscription, and $14.99 per month under a family-friendly tier that will provide access to as many as six members. Apple Music will initially be offered on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC starting June 30, and will be available on the Apple TV and Android phones sometime this fall, the company said.
Apple will prime the pump for Apple Music with a three-month free membership. Users will get to pair music purchased or ripped from CDs at the iTunes Store alongside Apple Music service’s new streaming library, which features a catalog of more than 30 million songs. The service will also include a curated “For You” playlist and tight integration with Siri.
Apple said Beats 1 will broadcast live to over 100 countries, and will be lead up by DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London.
Apple Music Connect, another element of the service, will provide an avenue for artists and fans to connect via the service, enabling artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release songs. Fans, in turn, can comment on what artists have posted and share via Messages, Facebook, Twitter and email.
Apple also used its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco to preview iOS 9, which will bring some new multitasking features, including a new Slide Over feature that lets user work in a second app without leaving the first. iPad users will also have access to a new picture-in-picture capability that enables them to resize the video window. During the event, Apple demonstrated the feature using the WatchESPN app.
Apple has released the iOS 9 beta software and SDK to developers, and will follow with a public beta program in July. iOS 9 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and later.
Apple also showed off the next software release for the new Apple Watch, watchOS 2, noting that it will support native applications. It’s due out this fall as a free update to the Apple Watch.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also shared a new milestone, noting that the Apple App Store has surpassed 100 billion app downloads.