This fall, Apple surprised us by throwing announcements related to audio and music in an event that was to be entirely devoted to Macs, setting up a sort of “pre-game show” for its. unleashed event, where he unveiled the AirPods 3, more colors for the HomePod mini, and a new Apple Music voice plane that came entirely out of left field.
Of these, the new voice-only subscription level of $ 4.99 for Apple Music was probably the most unusual new initiative. Clearly aimed at those who prefer a screen-less listening experience, the new plan gives access to the entire Apple Music catalog, but only by calling up preset songs, artists, albums and playlists using from Siri.
There is a long list of other downsides as well: you won’t hear music with Lossless or Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio, there are no lyrics, no music videos, and no support for a personal music library. IPhone, iPad and Mac users who subscribe to the voice plan will also benefit from a simplified user interface in the Music app that just explains how to call music using Siri.
It’s still unclear how popular this new plan will be in the long run. Only Apple knows how many subscribers it has attracted so far, and as usual, it won’t share more specific numbers than with any other service. If Apple is talking about the Apple Music Voice plan, we can expect to hear the generally sunny but vague comments on revenue calls, like âthe new Apple Music Voice plan is proving very popular,â without offering any context. as to what that means exactly.
While Apple might not need help selling the HomePod mini, we believe there is a real missed opportunity here to make its services more ‘sticky’ and promote the value of the ecosystem. Apple as a whole.
The Apple Music Voice plan seems to have been born with the HomePod mini in mind, and in a world where most music streaming services offer an entirely free level in one form or another, Apple could have created an incredible synergy in including Apple Music Voice. Plan with the HomePod mini at no additional monthly costs.
Granted, Spotify and other’s free tier offerings are ad-supported, which Apple has made clear that it never will. However, given Apple’s willingness to give away other services like Apple TV +, pairing an equally generous deal with the HomePod mini would add great value to the smart speaker right out of the box.
It’s actually quite unusual that Apple hasn’t done something like this already, given how easy it is to get an extended free trial of Apple Music already, at least during certain times of the year. year.
In an ideal world, Apple would just give away the Apple Music Voice plan with the HomePod mini in perpetuity, but we’re also pragmatic enough that we know that probably wouldn’t happen. However, a year of free access to the Apple Music Voice plan with the purchase of a HomePod mini could make sense for a number of reasons.
- Firstly, it would immediately make the HomePod mini more attractive. New users who hadn’t yet considered streaming services could jump right into Apple Music, and even those already using an alternative like Spotify might consider switching, especially since Spotify isn’t even available yet. on HomePod.
- While the HomePod mini appears to be selling well, Apple still has a very long way to go before it comes close to Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market.
- It would show what Siri is capable of on the HomePod mini, especially in light of Apple’s new mood and activity-based playlists. These complement many other HomePod mini features like ambient sounds in a way other streaming services can’t match.
- It would also likely result in a lot more conversions to the full Apple Music plan at $ 9.99. The HomePod mini is still primarily a part of the Apple ecosystem – you need an iPhone or iPad to set it up first, after all – and once users get a taste of Apple Music. via voice, they are much more likely to want to fully enjoy the Apple Music experience on their iPhone.
Apple could also use it to promote more mini HomePod sales by finding a way to gift an additional year of the Apple Music voice plan with every new mini HomePod. This would encourage users to add more HomePods to their network and switch to new models as they become available.
The downside, of course, is that it would likely have rivals like Spotify crying out loud, claiming Apple is anti-competitive by promoting its own services. However, Spotify’s slash is starting to lose credibility; Apple pitched the ball for implementing features like AirPlay 2 and HomePod support in its court nearly two years ago, but the streaming giant has yet to implement any of the above. these features.