Apple's Music mobile app is about to undergo a serious overhaul, judging by 9to5Mac's screenshots of the latest version in iOS 8.4 beta, currently available only to developers.
The most striking feature is the app's revamped design, which includes a new emphasis on photos and lets users customize playlists by adding cover images.
A new MiniPlayer feature lets users control playback while browsing the library, and a new Global Search function makes it easy to find the song you're looking for from anywhere in the app. It is now also possible to sort albums by title or by artist, and a new Up Next icon makes it easy to see which track will play after the current one. The app automatically places recently added albums and playlists at the top of the library for easy access.
Finally, the app also lets users toggle easily between the library, playlists, and iTunes Radio (in the US and Australia) simply by swiping right or left.
Also in the works for iOS 8.4: a streaming platform
In addition to updating Apple's conventional Music app, iOS 8.4 will introduce a brand new music streaming platform. Developed by Apple and Beats, the new service is expected to be unveiled at the WWDC, which takes place in San Francisco from June 8 to 12.
In the competitive music streaming market, Apple's forthcoming offer is expected to stand out for its low price. Early reports indicate a subscription will cost $7.99, compared to $9.99 for Spotify, Deezer and Google Music. Announced and delayed multiple times, the new platform will likely allow users to create their own playlists and to store their own music in the cloud. The platform will likely be a revised version of Beats Music, the music streaming service launched in early 2014 with access to over 20 million songs, only adapted to the Apple ecosystem.
The project is among the results of Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics in 2014. After becoming the leading name in digital music downloads, the Cupertino firm hopes to take on the streaming market. In the US, revenues from streaming services surpassed those of record sales in 2014 for the first time, according to the RIAA.