A Hands-On Look At Apple Music & Apple Arcade.
Apple is actively entering the content market, taking advantage of its famous ecosystem of walled apps to move from purchasing discrete content to a subscription model.
It all started with Apple Music, but Apple Arcade and Apple TV + have now joined this first attempt at a subscription service. This forms the three pillars of Apple’s business model for the future.
While we wait for Apple TV + to prove its worth, it’s time to take a look at two of Apple’s other subscription services and see if it’s worth squeezing them out.
Apple Music Brings The (Curated) Groove ($ 10.00 per month)
Apple has always been a pioneer in the digital music market. You could even say that the iPod and iTunes saved the music industry, even though it seemed like it could all collapse.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that their first proper subscription service focused on the amazing digital music infrastructure the company has built.
What’s on offer?
An extensive music library built on the proven delivery platform that Apple is known for. You pay a monthly fee that starts at $ 10 but also offers an affordable family plan and a cheap option for verified students.
Surprisingly, you can also use Apple Music on your Android device. It’s one of two Android apps from Apple, the other is a utility that helps you migrate to iPhone. Both the iOS and Android versions worked flawlessly for us, but due to the variety of Android hardware, your result may vary.
Apple Music vs The Competition
Apple Music is facing a lot of competition. Spotify and Pandora come to mind in the US. Internationally, the biggest competition is YouTube Music. Apple Music definitely has some drawbacks when compared to other services.
It lacks the amazing technology behind Spotify and Pandora that analyzes your musical taste and gives great suggestions for new tunes. Also, YouTube Music doesn’t offer many artists and songs. Plus, for just $ 12, YouTube Music includes YouTube Premium with access to exclusive content and remove ads from the service entirely.
However, Apple Music benefits from a great interface, a lot of quality information about the music itself, and the best human touch of any music streaming service. Chosen playlists pay attention to detail that no algorithm currently can handle.
It is unfortunate that many of the less popular artists we were looking for are missing or have incomplete discographies.
Is it worth the money?
Apple Music itself is worth the asking price. However, this is very difficult to justify, particularly against YouTube Music. Even with the YouTube music-only offer (which also costs $ 10), you still get much more relevant music. On the other hand, YouTube Music is awash with inappropriate content.
So if you want a personalized white glove experience, Apple Music is the way to go. If you want to get the most out of your investment, it’s best to look elsewhere.
If you’ve upgraded to iOS13, you’ll find a new Arcade tab in the App Store. Clicking on it will take you to the subscription request. If you activate your subscription, you will have access to a selection of games that can be downloaded to your device like any other application and can be played offline while the subscription is active.
Basically, it’s like Netflix, but for games.
What’s on offer?
As a result, more than 100 exclusive games were released. At least exclusively for mobile phones and tablets. Some games, such as Cat Quest II and Stranded Sails, are also available on consoles.
The library will be updated monthly with new titles added. A great blend of different genres, styles and production values. The games are carefully selected by people, so you won’t find any shovel here. In fact, Apple Arcade offers some of the most creative, beautiful, and innovative games we’ve ever seen on any platform.
Apple Arcade also offers full gamepad support for gaming where it makes sense. This includes traditional MFi controllers and Sony DualShock 4 and Xbox One tablets. Just make sure you have compatible versions of these major controllers. Some DS4 models do not work, and only Windows compatible Xbox controller models with Bluetooth can work properly with iOS devices.
Every Apple Arcade game we’ve tested with these gamepads has been clearly designed with them in mind, and these additional features turn your iPad, Apple TV, and iPhone into true gaming devices.
Notable titles from the current collection include:
- Oceanhorn 2
- Cat Quest II
- Various day life
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens
We tried these games on the iPad Pro 9.7 and the big screen was fantastic. Some games may not transfer well to iPhone, and you can purchase a phone mount with a gamepad to make it as comfortable as possible.
Apple Arcade vs The Competition
Android users can opt for the Google Play Pass, which offers 350 games for the same price as Apple Arcade. The Play Pass is for the US only at the time of writing and does not feature the exclusive curated games that Apple Arcade offers.
There are many great games and AAA ports that form part of the offering, but it suffers from the general state of Android mobile gaming. Even before Apple Arcade, iOS gamers got the best games first and often exclusively.
Is it worth the money?
Apple Arcade is probably one of the best deals in the gaming industry right now. Many games included in the subscription cost $ 20 or more on platforms such as Nintendo Switch. This makes Apple Arcade a much more cost-effective option for limited play games.
As for the mobile games offering even better. Apple Arcade‘s policy of only having premium games with no in-app purchases raises it head and shoulders above the general mobile game market, which is flooded with free games that focus more on getting money out of your wallet than on entertainment experience.
In short, it’s hard to imagine a better way to spend five dollars on entertainment a month!