iOS 7 isn’t just about the redesign, it also includes a number of new features such as iTunes Radio that lets you stream music from “stations” curated by Apple as well as generated by your listening preferences.
I take a look at the updated Music app, which includes the iTunes Radio feature:
Like many other stock apps in iOS 7, the Music app retains the same structure and interaction as its iOS 6 counterpart, but has a whole new coat of paint to go with Apple’s new “flat” design language.
- The interface remains the same, with a tabbed structure. In iOS 7, though, there’s an additional tab for iTunes Radio, a feature we’ll discuss below in detail.
- The Artists tab has been slightly tweaked to make each cell associated with an artist much bigger to accommodate album art seen on the left. The app also shows you how many albums and songs are associated with each artist in the same cell.
- When you tap on an artist, you are taken to a redesigned page that shows you all songs grouped by album.
- The Now Playing screen has all its song information and controls at the bottom of the screen, as opposed to iOS 6 where it was distributed between both bottom and top. The buttons to shuffle and repeat are now text-only, compared to iOS 6 which had icons for these functions. The create button at the center has options to create a new iTunes Radio station, with either the artist or the song as the seed.
- Cover Flow, Apple’s iconic 3D interface to display album art has been scrapped. When you change your device’s orientation to landscape, you’ll now see a horizontally scrollable grid of all the albums you have on your device.
- Upon tapping an album in the grid view, the album art zooms in and a song list appears from the right edge of the screen.
- The Now Playing widget on the lock screen, too, is revamped. You can now scrub through the song in addition to changing the volume and playing, pausing, skipping, and going back.
Although iTunes Radio is actually a part of the Music app, it’s a big enough feature to warrant its own section in this preview. iTunes Radio is the long-rumored free music streaming service that Apple had been trying to make since quite some time. It’s very much like Pandora, where you can’t listen to on-demand songs, but simply generate music stations based on a certain song.
- The iTunes Radio main screen displays a list of featured stations along with a grid of the stations you’ve created.
- The feature list is curated, and includes stations such as Pop Hits, 90s Dance Hits, Trending Music on Twitter etc. You can tap on any station to start playing its songs.
- The Now Playing screen is slightly different than the one shown for the songs you own. There’s a button to purchase the song in iTunes as well as an info button with options to create a new station using the artist or song as a seed. You can tell iTunes Radio to allow explicit songs, and of course share the station using various channels like Twitter, Mail etc.
- You can create a new station from the screen either through the methods described above, or by simply tapping the plus button on the iTunes Radio main screen. You can then search for an artist, a song or a genre to create a station, which will then be added to the main screen.
- You are allowed to skip up to 6 songs per station in an hour. iTunes Match subscribers however can skip unlimited number of songs.
- iTunes Radio will be available for free with ads, while iTunes Match users will be able to enjoy ad-free experience.
- It will be available only in the U.S. at the time of the launch. Apple hasn’t provided any details on when it will be available in other countries. There is a simple workaround if you want to use it outside U.S.
- You can use Siri to manage iTunes Radio, which is useful when you’re driving (Note: this works only when iTunes Radio is running). So you can tell Siri to:
- “Play more like this” if you want to hear similar songs to the one you’re hearing currently.
- Play your favorite genres or station.
- Ask Siri “What Song is this” to find out the artist etc.
- Add the song to your wish list.
- You can also like or dislike (skip) a song using Siri.
- You will be able to tune in to iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, or Apple TV.
Here’s a video walkthrough of the Music app and the all-new iTunes Radio:
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Check out our iOS 7 category page for everything you need to know about Apple’s next generation mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.