Five things we want from Apple Music on Android

If Apple's going to pull us away from our preferred streaming services, it needs to deliver a different app than what it offers on iOS.

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Derek Walter

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Apple Music is here. Well, unless you’re on Android, where it’s coming later (how often do we have to hear that?)

Assuming that some of the wrinkles of Apple Music on iOS get flattened out before is hits the Play Store, it might be strong enough to lure you away from Spotify, Google Play Music, or your other prefered streaming service.

But we have a list of demands. Apple Music will have to deliver a top-notch Andriod app in if it’s going to make us give up our favorite music streaming apps.

Integrate with Google’s commands

Google Now’s voice commands are one of Android’s best features. It works extremely well with Play Music. Much like Siri on iOS, you can direct it to play a particular artist, track, or just to “play music” and it will fire up some tunes that are supposedly to your liking.

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Integration with Google Now’s voice commands would be a smart move for Apple Music.

Third-party developers have the ability to integrate their apps with Google Now. For example, you can say, “OK, Google, Shazam this song” and then the music-listening app will launch and identify the track.

So for Apple Music, at the very least we should be able to say, “OK Google, play Apple Music” to jump into the application. Deeper tie-ins could be possible, and if Apple is going to deliver a good app, it’ll need to go the extra mile.

Go with Material Design

I’m not holding out hope for this one, but it would be great from a usability standpoint if Apple Music would embrace Material Design.

Google’s design guidelines bring needed consistency and uniformity to Android apps. It’s become an expectation now, as apps that aren’t with the program look dates and out of sorts compared to the others. 

So for Apple to get some Android fans on board, it should draw things up with a Material Design template.

play music listen now

Google Play Music is a benchmark example of Material Design.

Admittedly, I’m asking Apple to do something that Google wouldn’t. Nearly all of Google’s iOS apps are Material, which does make them stick out a bit on iOS. The difference, however, is that many Android users won’t touch Apple products because of the real and imagined restrictions. Apple needs to be the one to reach out the hand here, so getting on board with Google’s design would be a wise step to win some people over.

Besides, the interface on the iOS version is a confusing mess. It’s not as if Apple would be tossing away something great just to appease Android fans.

Add a ‘buy now’ button inside Apple Music

Streaming doesn’t have to mean the end of buying music. In Google Play Music, for example, you can still buy a track if you want to make sure you own it in case you decide to cancel the service. Or just to get a DRM-free copy you can download and use anywhere.

Same goes for Apple Music on the desktop and iOS. It’s good for artists and those who like the idea of a music collection they’ll always own.

apple music buy

Apple Music lets you purchase tracks directly inside the app. That capability should continue on Android.

So Apple should build this in to its Apple Music app, especially since there’s no iTunes store on Android. It could connect back to your main iTunes account so that the song will appear on any of your devices.

Apple has stumbled with its cloud services before, so the company should take the time to get this right.

Cut back on the clutter

Apple Music does a lot. There are all those new tracks, playlists, recommendations, radio stations, the social connections, and your saved music. It reminds me of iTunes, in that it just feels like there’s too much crammed into one application.

apple music interface

With iTunes Radio and other pop-up menus, Apple Music has a lot going on at once.

So even if Apple is going to eschew Material Design, at the very least the interface could stand to be dialed before it comes to Android. Perhaps go with fewer features to start—iTunes Radio (not Beats 1) and the Connect social component aren’t all that compelling, anyway. Better to start small and have a smooth, responsive, and easy-to-use application instead of one that will have me running back for the relatively slick and easy-to-navigate Google Play Music. 

Make sign-in easy

Apple should build some type of unified sign-in mechanism for your Apple Music account. Many other online services do this—it eliminates the need to authenticate a device or jump through other hoops to access your stuff.

google sign in

Use Google sign-in to by pass creating another password.

I mention this in the hopes that Apple won’t require some type of action in iTunes in order to get your phone or tablet connected to Apple Music. It should be like any other service - just sign in and go. This would also enable the buy-it-now type of functionality I mentioned earlier. 

Of course, we expect Apple to require an Apple ID, but why not let us tie that to our Google account to make signing in easier?

This desire connects to what should be the overall goal: build Apple Music into a great, standalone service that Android users would be willing to pay for. This is usually Google’s turf: cross-platform services that work well on multiple devices. If Apple can pull it off, it will give us additional music choice on Android and push Google, Spotify, and others to keep innovating with their own products.

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