If you’ve watched senior Apple executives rubbish Android on-stage in recent years, the thought of the company launching one of its flagship digital services for Google-powered devices may have seemed ridiculous.
Yet at the unveiling of Apple Music in June that’s exactly what Apple promised, and overnight it delivered with the launch of an official Apple Music app for Android.
All the main features of the iOS version have made the leap bar music videos, which will reportedly be added soon. Android users who are new to Apple Music will get a three-month free trial just like on iOS, and an additional bonus is the fact that the app will bring across their iTunes files to their Android device too.
What’s unknown for now is how much Apple will charge for monthly subscriptions: Google will get a 30% cut of any in-app purchases, so we’ll be interested to see if Apple adds on $3 a month to factor that in, just as non-Apple streaming services do on iOS. Of course, it could choose to handle the billing entirely within iTunes to avoid Google taking a slice.
It was also interesting to see Apple’s services boss Eddy Cue talking openly about the company’s intention to make the new Android app more than a second-class citizen within Apple’s ecosystem.
“It’s a full native app, so it will look and feel like an Android app. The menus will look like Android, you know the little hamburger they use on the top. It’ll definitely feel very much like an Android app,” he told TechCrunch. “We wanted customers on Android to naturally be able to use it — what they’ve learned and how they interact is common.”
Predictably, a number of Android users have given the Apple Music app low ratings on the Google Play store on fanboy grounds, although the fact that the 1,500+ one-star ratings are more than balanced out by nearly 1,800 five-star ratings suggests that the app is pretty good – something backed up by Music Ally’s quick exploration of it this morning.
Apple Music has some catching up to do on Android: Spotify and Pandora have both been installed more than 100m times on the platform, while Google Play Music (admittedly on its home turf) is past 1bn installs. But early indications are that Apple sees Android as a serious plank in its Apple Music strategy, rather than an afterthought.