Apple usually only brings up Android when it has something bad to say, but the story is a little different when it comes to streaming music. In order to compete in the crowded streaming field — and take on early giants like Spotify — Apple needs to be everywhere that people want to listen. So yesterday, Apple launched Apple Music on Android, and it isn't leaving Android users with a second-rate experience.
Pretty much everything from Apple Music on iOS is here
Apple Music on Android is almost identical to Apple Music on the iPhone. You have the same general interface for setting up your music tastes, controlling song playback, and browsing curated playlists. But Apple has made changes here and there to make it fit in better with Android. Sections of the app are hidden away in a menu off to the side, rather than located in tabs along the bottom as they are on iOS, and small changes to icons and font go far enough to avoid feeling like this is a misplaced iOS app, even if it's still leaning on Apple's design language.
Nearly all of Apple Music's features have come over, too. You can get music recommendations, listen to Beats 1 radio, and browse the social Connect section. The app is technically in beta right now, so some features are missing — like music videos — but those should be added in the near future.
There isn't much to add at this point on how these experiences work: it's still Apple Music, everything good and bad about it. The app can be a little confusing, but there's a lot in it; the playlists are great, but on the shorter side; and Connect still feels like the new Ping — all things we pointed out during our initial review. On the brighter side, even though this is Apple's first real Android app (save for a migration tool), it seems to have done a fine job of making it. On my Nexus 5X, the app ran just as smooth as you'd expect it to.
Apple isn't changing the game with this release on Android — if you already like Apple Music, you'll like it here; if you're already committed to Spotify, there's little to steal you away. What Apple is doing, however, is declaring itself a serious entrant in the streaming music space. Apple realized a long time ago that you need to be on multiple platforms to succeed in music — just look at iTunes, which it brought over to Windows early on. If Apple ignored Android, it would be giving up on more users than it could ever get on iOS. That's not a recipe for success (and it's certainly not something that artists want to hear when Apple Music is fighting for an exclusive). Apple Music is a solid first Android app from Apple, but it's really just the start of Apple's entry into streaming music.