During its Unleashed event in October, Apple announced a new voice-only subscription tier for Apple Music and now we’ve got a good idea when it’ll launch.
The Siri-focused Apple Music Voice Plan has just shown up in the release notes for the iOS 15.2 release candidate, confirming the feature will land in the weeks to come.
“Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri,” the notes explain (via 9to5Mac). “Just Ask Siri suggests music based on your listening history and likes or dislikes. Play it Again lets you access a list of your recently played music.”
We certainly expect iOS 15.2 to land before the end of the year, which is in-line with Apple’s vow to introduce the tuneful new tier “later this year.”
The Voice Plan costs $4.99/£4.99, which is half as much as the standard Apple Music plan, but music can only be summoned via the Siri voice assistant. That makes it a great option for people who mostly play music through a HomePod or HomePod mini smart speaker.
There are no limits to what artists, albums and playlists you can play via the lower-priced tier and, crucially, the discounted rate doesn’t introduce any advertisements.
However, there are some drawbacks. You won’t be able to scan the library via the Apple Music interface and there are plenty of situations when using a voice assistant is far from ideal. There’s also no access to features like offline downloads and Spatial Audio either. There’s also the accessibility issues to consider as some folks are unable to get along with voice assistants at all.
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When Apple does launch the Apple Music Voice Plan, it’ll be interesting to see if the likes of Spotify have a riposte. Apple has jumped ahead of its rival in terms of adding a host of new features, including Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless audio. Spotify is responding with its own HiFi tier, but there’s no word on when that will actually launch.