Apple launches Apple Music-only Siri voice plan with iOS 15.2 – TechCrunch


Apple is now rolling out access to its new lower-cost Apple Music Voice plan, first shown this fall at the company’s hardware event. The new service, designed largely for use with HomePod speakers or AirPods, restricts consumers from accessing Apple Music using Siri commands. Due to its lean nature, voice-only service is offered at $ 4.99 per month, compared to $ 9.99 per month for a standard individual plan.

The new music subscription is part of the larger iOS 15.2 update, which also brings other features such as app privacy reports, message safety warnings for children, a “hide my email” privacy feature, and more.

Initially, some people might have been confused as to why anyone would want a music subscription designed only to be used through voice commands. But Apple wasn’t the first company to take this route, in fact.

In 2019, Amazon introduced a more affordable way to stream its Amazon Music service with the launch of an ad-supported free tier that only streams to its Echo speakers. In other words, it was a version of Amazon Music accessible only through Alexa commands.

Apple’s Siri service is similar, but isn’t limited to Apple’s smart speakers alone. Instead, Apple says users will be able to request music using any of their Siri-enabled devices, including HomePod, AirPods, iPhone or other devices, as well as CarPlay. .

The new voice-only level isn’t a slimmed down version of Apple Music with a limited song selection. Like traditional subscriptions, subscribers will have access to Apple Music’s 90 million song catalog, tens of thousands of playlists, and hundreds of new mood and activity playlists, custom mixes. and genre stations. It also includes Apple Music Radio.

To access this content, users can request a song, album, or artist through Siri, or, more likely, they can request a genre or playlist type using voice commands like this. “

Voice plan subscribers can also use the Apple Music app to some extent. But instead of being able to browse the entire library as usual, a “Listen Now” screen will showcase the music they’ve recently played and help them discover more recommendations that can be played with a tap or Siri command. A Radio tab will provide access to live and on-demand radio. And there is a search function, but you can only read the results by asking Siri. The app will also include a section that teaches users how to optimize Siri for Apple Music.

Users can give Siri specific comments by saying things like “I like this song” or “I don’t like this song”, and learn more about the music played by asking things like who sings a song, song or album name, year of release, and more.

Over time, users who interact with Apple Music with their voices will train Siri to better understand their preferences. This means that they will be able to ask Siri to “play music that I like” or “play my favorite mix” and Siri, in theory, will provide the music that they like to listen to.

In addition to being competitive with that of Amazon Echo only package, the Apple Music Voice plan could help Apple access a wealth of user data on Siri usage, which could help it improve its product, which is late Alexa and Google Assistant. More generally, it’s also an easy way for Apple to entice price-sensitive users to try a paid music subscription service for the first time. Later, the voice plane could drive these users to more expensive levels after realizing the convenience of having access to on-demand, ad-free music, instead of relying on a free ad-supported option like Pandora.

Apple Music Voice is available through iOS 15.2 update in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, UK and United States


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