Apple Music has now passed the 17 million subscribers' mark, up from 15 million in June, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Speaking at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, Cook (pictured) opened his presentation at the company's annual fall press event with a nod to Apple Music. “We've always had a deep love for music. It inspires us and it is a key part of our product experience,” he said.
However, Cook did not announce a major overhaul of the service, as was anticipated, ahead of the launch of new subscription services from Amazon and Pandora. Cook said the service now offers over 35 million songs and has become the music industry's place-to-go for exclusives, with over 70 releases exclusively featured on Apple Music, including from Taylor Swift, Drake and Frank Ocean. “Apple Music has content that no one has,” said Cook, “and has become the premier destination for artist to exclusively debut new music.”
“With all the things that have been going on with exclusives these past two weeks, bragging about exclusives was probably not the best thing to do, especially in terms of consumer experience,” commented Ted Cohen, a Los Angeles-based music and tech consultant at TAG Strategic. Cohen added that he was “underwhelmed” by the Apple Music side of Cook's presentation. “I was hoping for a little more than that, maybe something about the 'next thing' that would have not been done yet by Spotify or Tidal.”
Cook use the event to pay tribute the Apple Music Festival in the UK, which will celebrate this year its 10th anniversary at the Roundhouse (September 18-30). Artists performing include Alicia Keys, Bastille, Britney Spears, Calvin Harris, Chance the Rapper, Elton John, Michael Bublé, OneRepublic, Robbie Williams and The 1975. “It has an amazing line-up and if you can't make it to London, you can stream it for free from your Apple device,” said Cook.
Cook also revealed that over 140 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, which shifts twice as much global revenues than its nearest competitor, according to Cook. “We continue to set new records: In the last two month we had a growth rate of over 100% year on year,” said Cook. “It is pretty clear that the love affair with apps is stronger than ever.”
The bulk of the presentation focused on the new iWatch, which comes as waterproof and with an integrated GPS, and above all, on the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, a radically redesigned handset which, among its new features, comes with stereo speakers and will also see the end of the headphone jack to allow for wireless AirPods. The iPhone 7 will be available in 26 countries, including the UK, from September 16. In the US, the basic model will cost $649.
Cook started the event with a Carpool Karaoke session with British late night show host James Corden, singing OneRepublic I Lived and, after stopping to pick up Pharrell Williams, they went on singing Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama. It was a fitting reminder that Apple recently secured the global distribution rights to Carpool Karaoke. After two hours, the presentation ended with a performance from Sia.
“It was nice,” said Cohen of the whole presentation, “but I did not see anything that killed me, although the iPhone 7 is quite cool. Eliminating the audio jack, that's something I do not really get. And these new wireless earbuds, they look like a broken q-tips dangling off the ears. Overall, it felt like a long infomercial, a bit more than usual.”