Apple Music for Android gets a major upgrade to keep pace with iOS version

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The new version of Apple Music for Android is here and it’s a doozy. Version 2.0 of the app for Google’s smartphone operating system includes a number of the features released on iOS 10 for the iPhone and iPad last September, most notably support for song lyrics and a streamlined music library.

A new design brings the app in line with its iOS counterpart. Apple Music has been simplified to four main categories — Library, For You, Browse, and Radio — denoted by large headers that bring “greater clarity.” The Now Playing screen takes a cue from the iOS version’s card-like interface and includes the ability to read song lyrics integration.

Apple Music’s other sections have been consolidated. Playlists now live in Library and New is located under the Browse tab. It is easier to see Downloaded Music stored for offline playback and there is less scrolling and fewer menus. Additionally, performance has improved.

But it is a little rough around the edges. As TechCrunch points out, a sign-in bug on select devices is preventing some subscribers from logging in. Affected Apple Music users are asked to enter an Apple ID verification code but there does not appear to be a place to enter the code provided.

Despite the occasional bug, though, Apple Music is on the upswing. Apple announced that the service reached 20 million paying customers in December and some analysts estimate that the total number of users sits somewhere north of 40 million.

That is despite fierce competition from Spotify, which cleared 40 million paying users in September. Amazon recently launched Music Unlimited, and in December, Pandora rolled out Pandora Premium.

But Apple Music has the benefit of reach. It’s available in more than 100 countries, with more than half of its subscribers based outside of the U.S. in markets such as Japan, China, Russia, and Brazil.

Apple executive Eddy Cue told Billboard in December that 2016 had been “quite a year” for Apple Music. But Cue said the company had grander ambitions. “We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers,” he said. “There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100 million subscribers. There’s a lot of growth opportunity.”

To that end, rumor has it that Apple’s looking to spur Apple Music sign-ups by reducing the cost of its individual plan from $10 to $8 and its family plan from $15 to $13. The discounts, if true, could go a long way to heading off rivals.

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