Called "Apple Music Voice Plan", the new tier is half the price of an individual Apple Music subscription - but it still provides access to the music service's entire catalogue of 90 million songs. There are some caveats, of course. Here is what you need to know about Apple Music Voice Plan and whether it's worth trying.
What is Apple Music Voice Plan?
Simply put, with Apple Music Voice Plan, you can access all of Apple Music, but you can only do so by voice control. In other words, you have to play music through a Siri-enabled device, such as a HomePod Mini, AirPods, or an iPhone. With an Apple Music Voice Plan subscription, you can ask Siri to play anything in the Apple Music library - including full albums, individual songs, and Apple’s playlists. There is no limit on song choice or the number of skips available.
What's the catch?
With an Apple Music Voice Plan, you can't use the Apple Music app to manually control your listening experience like you can on another subscription tier. That's because the Apple Music app has a very different user interface just for Voice Plan users. It is stripped back to only show music suggestions and your recent listening history. There is also a special section to help you learn how to interact with Apple Music via Siri voice commands.
So, to play the latest song by Taylor Swift, rather than diving into and using the Apple Music app on your phone, you must ask Siri ("Hey Siri, play [x] by Taylor Swift"). If you really want to use the Apple Music app to fully control your listening experience, you should get an individual or family subscription instead.
How much is Apple Music Voice Plan?
In this US, Apple Music Voice Plan costs $4.99 per month.
Apple Music usually costs $9.99 per month for individuals or $14.99 per month for families. A discounted plan for students is available at $4.99 per month.
Is there a free trial?
Yes, each customer with their own Apple ID can try a free 7-day trial of the Apple Music Voice Plan.
Which devices support Apple Music Voice Plan?
The Apple Music Voice Plan is compatible with any Siri-enabled device that can play Apple Music. It works with the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, HomePod, AirPods, and CarPlay. Third-party hardware integrations, such as Apple Music for Echo or Samsung Smart TVs, are not supported.
What can you listen to with Apple Music Voice Plan?
As we said above, the Apple Music Voice Plan gives full access to the Apple Music catalogue.
You can ask Siri to play any song in the library or any of the available playlists or radio stations. Apple is even expanding its themed playlists, so you’ll be able to ask Siri to "play the dinner party playlist" to immediately start streaming tunes. There are tens of thousands of playlists - including hundreds of new mood and activity playlists, personalised mixes, and genre stations - that you can listen to with the Apple Music Voice Plan.
Apple said its playlists were created by "editorial experts", and they're optimised just for voice. Try asking Siri to "play something chill" or "play more like this". You can even name-drop specific playlists, such as New Music Daily, Rap Life, Today’s Hits, Today’s Country, A-List Pop, R&B Now, and more.
How to subscribe to Apple Music Voice Plan
You can sign up for the Apple Music Voice Plan directly through the Apple Music app or by asking Siri ("Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial").
When can you try Apple Music Voice Plan?
Apple said the Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later in 2021.
Where is Apple Music Voice Plan available?
It's launching in US, UK, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and Taiwan.
Who is it for and is it worth trying?
The Voice Plan just gets you access to the Apple Music catalogue for a lower price than the Individual or Family plans. It's for casual listeners who want a quick and easy way to get Siri to play music - no having to mess with the Apple Music app or spend hours curating playlists. To be clear, it's not a fee to get Siri to play music. If you have tracks from or on iTunes, you can still play those with the Apple Music app and control them with voice, just like you could before.
So, is it worth trying? Sure, why not? If you're that unsure, just check out the free 7-day trial, and then there's nothing to lose.
Want to know more?
Check out Pocket-lint's in-depth guide on Apple Music for more about how Cupertino's music-streaming service costs and typically works.