iOS 7 Features: Redesigned Music app and iTunes Radio

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iOS 7 isn’t just about the redesign, there are a lot of under-the-hood changes, and a brand new iTunes feature called iTunes Radio that lets you stream music from “stations” curated by Apple as well as generated by your listening preferences.

Music

Like many other stock apps in iOS 7, the Music app retains the same structure and interaction as its iOS 6 counterpart, but has a whole new coat of paint to go with Apple’s new “flat” design language.

  • The interface remains the same, with a tabbed structure. In iOS 7, though, there’s an additional tab for iTunes Radio, a feature we’ll discuss below in detail.
  • The Artists tab has been slightly tweaked to make each cell associated with an artist much bigger to accommodate album art seen on the left. The app also shows you how many albums and songs are associated with each artist in the same cell.

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  • When you tap on an artist, you are taken to a redesigned page that shows you all songs grouped by album.

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  • The Now Playing screen has all its song information and controls on the bottom of the screen, as opposed to iOS 6 where it was distributed between both bottom and top. The buttons to shuffle and repeat are now text-only, compared to iOS 6 which had icons for these functions. The create button at the center  has options to create a new iTunes Radio station, with either the artist or the song as the seed.

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  • Cover Flow, Apple’s iconic 3D interface to display album art has been scrapped. When you change your device’s orientation to landscape, you’ll now see a horizontally scrollable grid of all the albums you have on your device.

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  • Upon tapping an album in the grid view, the album art zooms in and a song list appears from the right edge of the screen.

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  • The Now Playing widget on the lock screen, too, is revamped. You can now scrub through the song in addition to changing the volume and playing, pausing, skipping, and going back.

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iTunes Radio

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Although iTunes Radio is actually a part of the Music app, it’s a big enough feature to warrant its own section in this preview. iTunes Radio is the long-rumored free music streaming service that Apple had been trying to make since quite some time. It’s very much like Pandora, where you can’t listen to on-demand songs, but simply generate music stations based on a certain song.

  • The iTunes Radio main screen displays a list of featured stations along with a grid of the stations you’ve created.
  • The feature list is curated, and includes stations such as Pop Hits, 90s Dance Hits, Trending Music on Twitter etc. You can tap on any station to start playing its songs.

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  • The Now Playing screen is slightly different than the one shown for the songs you own. There’s a button to purchase the song in iTunes as well as an info button with options to create a new station using the artist or song as a seed. You can tell iTunes Radio to allow explicit songs, and of course share the station using various channels like Twitter, Mail etc.

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  • You can create a new station from the screen either through the methods described above, or by simply tapping the plus button on the iTunes Radio main screen. You can then search for an artist, a song or a genre to create a station, which will then be added to the main screen.
  • You are allowed to skip up to 6 songs per station in an hour. However, reports indicate that iTunes Match subscribers will be able to skip unlimited number of songs.
  • iTunes Radio will be available for free with ads, while iTunes Match users will be able to enjoy ad-free experience.
  • It will be available only in the U.S. at the time of the launch. Apple hasn’t provided any details on when it will be available in other countries.
  • You will be able to tune in to iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, or Apple TV.

The redesigned Music app and iTunes Radio will be available with the iOS 7 update, expected to be released this September. Check out our iOS 7 category page for everything you need to know about Apple’s next generation mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

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Categories: iOS 7

  • Abel Goddard

    All of this sounds really great except for the part about album covers. I really don’t care at all about album covers and I never want to see them. So I wish the artist view didn’t show them. Or have double expansion. List the albums => show all songs => show large albums with track list. Or something like that.

    Also, although having text for “repeat” and “shuffle” is good, I think they should be a bit more defined, maybe as buttons.

    • Laarrryy

      Odd. Album art is the reason I chose apple as a media device in the first place. I want to see the art large and as much as possible.

  • Steveo

    Why on earth is Apple getting rid of Cover flow??? They took it out of iTunes, iPad, now the iPhone too. It’s so nice to use. They should at least give you an option to turn it on or off. Cover flow is the main reason I use GoMusic as my default Google Music app.

    • Abel Goddard

      I’ve never understood why people like cover flow. Having that new grid makes much more sense to me, though I still don’t think I’ll ever use it.

      • Gautam

        Yeah, I agree, while coverflow was cool it was quite gimmicky. The new grid makes more sense, however just like coverflow I doubt I will use it.

    • Pacomacman

      Agreed, I love cover flow, and will definitely miss it. I think the uiscrollview App is one area where sadly Apple have taken a big stride backwards, especially on the iPad. It feels clunky and ill thought out.

      I think I might just have to release an iPhone music app with coverflow to fill the gap ;)

      • Alex

        Has anyone else found out how to use cover flow in portrait orientation? I was in my car and it did it but I’m not sure how and i cant find any answers anywhere

  • enteecee

    Podcasts seem to be excised… I really don’t want another app. I like them their where they make sense- with all my other audio content, not in some afterthought ghetto.

  • Kim

    How can I shuffle a particular genre?

    • Dan Malleck

      You cannot. A terrible loss of functionality. And if you think you can do a work-around by making a playlist of that entire genre, you cannot search by genre once you enter the playlist creation phase. Only by artist, song, album and get this composer.

    • SophieCT

      If you ask Siri to play it, it will work as you like.
      Me: Siri, play Christmas.
      Siri: Playing Christmas music shuffled…
      (And you get a link to Now Playing.)

  • D_

    Sigh… they got rid of iTunesU content in the Music app, it seems… I hated the standalone iTunesU app (seriously, no continuous play? WTF?)…

  • Jaco

    One more thing in the music app:
    you can adjust the number of covers you see in landscape mode, by just pinch out/in ;)!!
    so you can self adjust how many covers you want to see

  • Rizzo

    How do you delete albums? You can left-swipe to delete songs, but you can no longer swipe to delete albums. Surely this is an elementary feature that most people would use?

  • Rizzo

    And also – shuffling a genre. You can’t do it, unless you tell Siri “Shuffle ‘Pop'”, or whatever. There’s no option to do it otherwise. MAJOR oversight.

  • Sandy

    Frustration I haven’t figured out yet how to get my iPhone to play more than one song when I’m driving it stops after one song instead of rotating through all of them like it did before ios7

  • omar5678

    my phone does not have the search letters on the right what can i do to fix this?