Ever since Apple acquired Beats for a paltry $3 billion, Beats fans without Apple devices have been wondering whether they'll be left out in the cold on future products and services. It looks like, for the time being, Android fans need not worry.
A report at 9to5Mac suggests that Apple is building a brand-new streaming service based off its Beats acquisition, with apps for both Android and of course iOS. This is a first: Apple is building an in-house Android app.
There are no plans for a Windows Phone app given Microsoft’s paltry market share (though the current Beats service is available on that platform). However, there also won’t be a web app according to the report, so Chromebook users may be out of luck. Apple plans to build the streaming service into iTunes, so you’d still be able to use it from a computer running OS X or Windows.
A key strategy for Apple may be to undercut the competition's pricing. Rumor has it the monthly price of Apple's post-Beats service may be $7.99 per month, $2 cheaper than Spotify, Rdio, and Google Play Music. That could be enough of a discount to make your eyes wander and see what Apple has cooked up.
However, there were no details about what kind of integration would be there if you wanted to bring over a playlist from an existing service. If you’ve spent time building up your collection and playlists with Play Music or another service, it’s not appealing to go through a giant hassle to save a few dollars. Also, Google Play Music has some additional integration with Android, such as through voice commands, that other services don’t get.
The 9to5Mac article claims that the Beats-based service will rely heavily on your iTunes collection for finding new music. You’ll be able to search for any song in Apple’s catalogue and stream it or add to your own iTunes library.
Supposedly, Apple plans to keep its existing iTunes Match, iTunes Radio, and music store offerings as is and just live with the duplication of services.
Why this matters: This will be the first application that Apple builds for Android. CEO Tim Cook has indicated in the past that Apple had “no religious issue” with building an app for Android if it made sense. It certainly does here, as Apple needs its app on Android both for a wider user base and probably to satisfy any existing record company deals negotiated by Beats before it was purchased.