I'm a father, manager, programmer, scrum master, geek, & movie lover.

Apple Is About Artists Again

Firstly, because it doesn’t offer a free tier. They want Artists to be reimbursed for their music. They weren’t going to pay Artists during the free trial, but that was because they were going to be paying Artists more on an ongoing basis, so they thought it would be ok. Within 24 hours of receiving a letter from Taylor Swift, they changed their minds and agreed to pay Artists even during the free trial. They want to do right by Artists.

The second reason it’s fantastic is that it includes the ability to stream all of your own (downloaded, ripped, or otherwise acquired) music to any/all of your devices. Previously, this was only available via iTunes Match, which carried an additional fee. You still have to do it via Match if you don’t want DRM on your streamed copies, but if you don’t care about that it’s free with an Apple Music subscription.

The third reason is that their Family Pricing is phenomenal.

The fourth? Beats1 radio is amazing. I thought I had grown to hate radio, but I was wrong. What I hate is ad-supported radio, and DJs who suck at their jobs. Beats1 radio has neither. The DJs are top notch, and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Fifth and final reason? The For You playlists are spot on. I’ve discovered more great new music in 1 week with Apple Music than I have in the past year.

At the end of the day Apple Music tries to do justice to both the Artist, and the Listener. Its content is curated by humans, not algorithms. It has personality, and a personal touch. And I, for one, believe this is only the start of a bigger revolution within Apple.

Recently, the Force Touch trackpad came out, and one of the first things they demoed it with was editing. When you get to the end of a clip, you feel it in the trackpad. Editors are Artists.

They spent a boatload re-writing Final Cut a couple years ago, and I have a feeling it’s going to get majorly beefed up again soon. If my theory’s correct, Logic and Garage Band will also be updated. iPhoto has already been completely re-written, and transformed into Apple Photos.

And there are rumours of an iPad Pro, and iPhones with Force Touch. Why is that important? I believe Apple has been working for a loooong time trying to crack the nut of stylus-based low-latency pressure-sensitive input combined with the ability to use touch-based input. Old digitizers used to misplace the stylus on the screen, or they required a lot of pressure, or a crappy feeling screen, or they weren’t compatible with touch input. Apple has been playing the long game, waiting until they could have a screen that supported all kinds of input.

I truly believe that a new app will be debuted with the iPad Pro, and it will be called Apple Canvas, Apple Art, or Apple Studio.

But wait, didn’t Steve Jobs say “A stylus, right? Noooo. Nobody wants a stylus! Blecht!” Yes, he said that, but just like when he said “Nobody reads anymore” and then released iBooks, I believe what he truly meant with the stylus comment was “Nobody wants to be forced to only use a stylus”. Using the stylus will be completely optional, but it will be there to give you precision when you want it.

For the first time, it will let you do super-accurate drawings, or subtle paintings, on Apple devices. I didn’t say iOS devices, I said Apple devices. In future iterations it might also allow you to use your iOS device as an input device for Mac apps, using an updated version of Continuity. Draw on your iPad in your lap, and simultaneously see it on your huge monitor or projector hooked up to your Mac. Wacom sells a tablet that only does this, and they charge a fortune for it. Alternately, maybe the Mac and its horsepower project an interactive interface onto the iPad, the same way iPhones can project into CarPlay. Who knows? Exciting times.

There are a lot of possibilities here, but the main point is that we are about to see Apple put a lot of effort into Artist-focused apps and hardware. I believe Apple has always been Artist-oriented, but that it had to take a back seat for a long time while they developed the tech required to do stylus-based input correctly.

That time has almost come. It’s right around the corner. I can feel it.