Apple Music for Android is finally catching up with iOS
There are still some rough edges that show up while syncing for the first time, but the overall audio playback performance depends a lot on the hardware your Android phone packs in
The Apple Music update, which Android users might have been waiting for, is now rolling out. Called Apple Music 2.0, the service gets a complete overhaul to bring it closer to the experience that iPhone users get.
The biggest change with the new update is the visual makeover, which resembles the Apple Music app on iOS 10. It gets the same set of clusters—Library, For You, Browse and Radio. There is still the hamburger menu on the top left side of the app, something you will rarely ever see on an iOS app, but that is perhaps a relic from the past.
The Now Playing screen has been given a refresh, and it also resembles the one on iOS. Apart from the nice and large album art, it also includes lyrics integration for the track being played—this was not available in the previous Apple Music app for Android. The library layout and the album page now have the same set of features as they do on iOS.
There are performance improvements as well. The app loading time is now much less, and the library sync and updates are quicker. It was a bit perplexing when Apple Music refused to sync my Apple Music library, despite going through the steps that included “connecting to your library" and “finalizing your library"—this was beginning to become a bit annoying after a while. But persistence eventually paid off, and the sync continued. Most likely, Apple won’t let this bug persist for too long, and an update should be rolled out soon enough.
In the settings menu, there is the option to restrict offline downloads to Wi-Fi only, the toggle to stream higher quality music on mobile data (3G/4G) and to allow or block certain tracks with potentially explicit lyrics. The Apple Music app retains the equalizer option, just in case you want to customize the sound—this is where the wide variety of hardware that Android phones have (and Apple has no control over this) will play a major part. On the same Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speaker, the audio streaming via Apple Music (for the same tracks) on a Google Pixel XL did not sound as vibrant or powerful as when streaming using an iPhone or an iPad. The audio playback hardware in each phone will have a bearing on what you hear, and that’s where phones such as the Sony Xperia line-up and the LG V20 will have an advantage with their high-resolution audio compatible hardware.
New users who sign up for Apple Music on their Android phones will get a 3-month free trial, post which they can sign up for the Rs120 per month (Individual) and Rs190 per month (Family; up to six people) plans. The Apple Music 2.0 is now available for download on the Google Play Store.