With iOS 8.3 out the door, it was inevitable that Apple would launch iOS 8.4 in developer preview – and now it’s here. The pre-release software ships with a new version of Apple’s native iOS Music app, complete with a brand new design and a reworked version of iTunes radio.
The release notes for the new version of the beta, as noted by 9to5Mac, describe some of the changes, including the ability to customize playlists with images from your library, and a new Artists view that features imagery of musicians while browsing. Using the Albums view now also enables playback of entire records with a single tap, instead of exposing a track list.
Apple’s Music app in iOS 8.4 also reveals recently added music more easily, putting it at the top of the library by default, which is something more akin to what many streaming services offer in their interfaces. iTunes Radio has also been redesigned to put favorites in a more prominent position, and Features offers hand-curated lists as well as those drawn from your listening habits.
A new MiniPlayer also now persists across the browsing UI, which is also very much in line with what other streaming apps provide in their own apps, and you can queue up subsequent content using a new “Up Next” management panel, changing order and more. Search is also now available throughout the Music app via a loop icon, and users can begin playing back an iTunes Radio station right from any search.
The changes to the Music app seem to also telegraph the eventual arrival of Apple’s revamped streaming music service. You can already see where a Beat Music-style service could be worked into this changes user experience to provide even more flexibility beyond a user’s own library.
Apple is expected to be planning a new streaming music service offering for unveiling at WWDC, the annual developer even it hosts in June, according to information obtained by TechCrunch, as well as independent reports from 9to5Mac. A service integrated into Apple’s existing native Music app for iOS would definitely be one big way to differentiate its offering from those of third-party competitors like Spotify.
Here’s a look at the new app in detail, as tweeted by @abdophoto