Apple Music review

A good but not great start for Apple's adventures in streaming

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Apple Music is a good streaming service but one that needs a lot of work. It seems like a service designed more for converting existing iTunes users into the new ecosystem and tying down iPhone users rather than providing something that all music lovers can enjoy.

At the same time, the unique approach to music curation is fantastic and will no doubt improve as Apple Music matures. It's Apple Music's best feature.

We liked

There's a lot to feel happy about in Apple Music. The For You section has heaps of potential and the use of human curators makes a huge difference. It's always easy to find something to listen to and in that way it's better even than Tidal which also employs humans to create playlists.

The library too is up there with the best, and has the added benefit of including many albums that you won't find on other services. And while Beats 1 is something I can't see myself using much, I can see loads of people really getting on board with it. It's a modern twist on a very old idea and I think it works.

And of course, the killer feature is the three month free trial - you can't argue with free music.

We disliked

Sadly, there's also a lot to feel very unhappy about. The design and layout of the app itself is the main problem. Some screens are very cluttered and a pain to use. Icons can be crazy small and hard to interact with. While some screens, on iPad in particular, feel like a waste of space.

I really don't like the My Music section which is the lifeblood of any streaming service. I don't feel comfortable there, I don't feel like it's 'my music' and it's certainly not presented in a way that for me would be most usable. This is probably the price Apple has paid for trying to shoehorn streaming in with iCloud and iTunes libraries - it needs to tidy itself up a bit.

Navigating around the app in general takes a lot of getting used to - it's certainly nowhere near as intuitive as iOS itself.

Verdict

It's very easy to be critical of Apple Music and I have been in this review. But hopefully you've seen also that there are loads of reasons to be enthusiastic about the service and with a three month free trial for everyone, there's simply no reason not to give it a go.

For any 'Apple people' who've yet to try out streaming, this could well be a service that has you hooked immediately if you're willing to put up with some flaws and bugs.

But for anyone hoping Apple would waltz in and deliver the perfect music streaming app to woo you out of your love affair with Spotify, Deezer or Google Music... well, we're not quite there yet.

You can be sure we'll be revisiting this review in three months' time to see how things have improved and whether the early 'free trialers' should be happy to start paying or not.