We will be live tweeting Apple's much touted announcement of a new iPhone and more from our @hypebot account today. It's a big day for Apple, marking the 10th anniversary of the iPhone along with the unveiling of the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's futuristic new campus. But music seems very unlikely to play a major role in today's announcements.
Of all the many leaks ahead of today's major Apple event, very few were about music. In fact, anything music related appears to have been openly shared already inside developer versions of Apple's iOS11.
Here's what we know and think we know:
- Move over Sonos, Apple is embracing multi-room playback - From Wired: "Speaker support is coming to HomeKit. You can use AirPlay to get multi-room audio through HomeKit. With that and with the new HomePod speaker, Apple stabs Sonos right directly in the back. Lots of speaker-makers are going to support AirPlay 2, which is the tech that’ll make enhanced multi-room work. You can throw music to Apple TV, too, and use Siri anywhere to control everything. Any app can plug in and get in on the fun."
- Apple Music Gets More Social - From iMore: "You'll be able to follow your friends on Apple Music and vice versa. When you follow someone, you'll be able to see what they've been listening to and what playlists they've shared... (There's also) a new feature called Shared Up Next. If you've got a playlist going, a nearby friend can, if you give them permission, add a song to your Up Next queue. Doing this won't interrupt the current track."
- Bundled Subscriptions - According to one rumor, Apple may announce some kind of bundled pricing for iPhone owners that includes Apple Music and iCloud subscriptions. Spotify announced bundles with Hulu, this week.
Our best attempts and reading the Apple tea leaves and a thorough scouring of the web and this is the total of music's involvement in Apple's big day.
Why does it matter? Today is a stark reminder that Apple - like Google - is not and never will be a music company. Apple execs may love music so much that they are willing to pay Iovine and Dre billions for their headphone company and fledgling streaming service. But music will be always be an afterthought at Apple.
That's not true Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal and Napster. They are - for now at least - still music companies. And for all of their faults, the music industry would be well served to remember that when sitting across the negotiating table or deciding where to place exclusive contact.