Apple's iOS 8.3 update has been out for a few days now, which means it's time for something new. Popping up today on Apple's developer channel is iOS 8.4, which might end up being the last point release we get ahead of iOS 9, which is expected to be unveiled at Apple's annual developer conference later this year. New today is a revamped version of the Music app, which is of high interest given reports that Apple plans to relaunch a new version of the Beats streaming music service, which it acquired as part of last year's deal. That's brought more scrutiny not only to what Apple plans to do with iTunes Radio, its Pandora-like streaming service, but also whether some of the experience from the Beats app might make its way into Apple's own Music app.
This isn't the music update you're looking for
Early indications suggest that most things in the app will be left alone, except for the look and feel. 9to5Mac has posted the release notes (which only developers can see), and the main feature is a "beautiful" new design that takes a page from streaming services like Rdio by letting users add their own photos to playlist album covers. The app now also borrows some features from the latest versions of iTunes, with things like a miniplayer with small controls and a peek at what's going to play next:
The iOS 8.4 Beta includes an early preview of the the all-new Music app. With powerful features and an elegant new look, enjoying your music is easier than ever. This preview provides a sneak peek into what we’ve been working on, and what’s to come — the music is just getting started.
All-New Design. Music app has a beautiful new design that makes exploring your music collection easier and more fun. Personalize playlists by adding your own image and description. Enjoy stunning pictures of your favorite artists in the Artists view. Start playing an album right from the album list. The music you love is never more than a tap away.
Recently Added. Albums and playlists you’ve recently added are now at the top of your library, making it effortless to find something new to play. Simply tap play on the artwork to listen.
Streamlined iTunes Radio. Discovering music with iTunes Radio is easier than ever. You can now quickly return to your favorite stations in Recently Played. Choose from a selection of hand-curated stations in Featured Stations, or start a new one from your favorite artist or song.
New MiniPlayer. With the new MiniPlayer, you can see what’s playing and control playback while browsing your music collection. To open Now Playing, just tap on the MiniPlayer.
Improved Now Playing. Now Playing has a stunning new design that showcases your album artwork the way it was meant to be. In addition, you can begin wirelessly streaming your music using AirPlay without leaving Now Playing.
Up Next. It’s now simple to find out which songs from your library will play next — just tap the Up Next icon in Now Playing. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.
Global Search. You can now search from anywhere in the Music app — just tap the magnifying glass. Search results are conveniently organized to help you quickly find that perfect song. You can even start an iTunes Radio station right from Search.
As for what the new app actually looks like, Twitter user Abdel Ibrahim shares these images:
A public release of iOS 8.4 is expected at or before Apple's annual developer conference WWDC, which has not yet been announced, though typically takes place in San Francisco in early June. The previous release, iOS 8.3, underwent four public betas before it was released, though also became the first iOS release to have its tires kicked by non-developers as part of a public beta program. The same thing could happen with this release as well.