And Tell Tchaikovsky the News!

The Daily Observation Deck Feature

Apple Music Classical is finally here (almost), Evercore is stoked over Apple in India, and watching baseball without having to watch baseball.

Apple Music Classical Is Finally Here (Almost)

After a surprisingly long wait, Apple Music Classical is finally here — after a bit more waiting. Apple’s answer to Frédéric Freakin’ Chopin turned up in the App Store on Thursday. Anyway, information about it did. 

It was the end of August in 2021 that Apple bought a well regarded classical music service called Primephonic. Within days Apple shuttered that service, though it gave Primephonic subscribers a six-month subscription to Apple Music at no cost. It also said that a new classical app would be out the following year, which didn’t really happen. But it’s happening now. 

In a couple of weeks. 

A piece from The Mac Observer says the service will go live on March 28, though Apple’s… kind of funny in its wording on that. The placeholder in the App Store says Apple Music Classical is “Expected March 28…” Still stinging, perhaps, from that “sometime in 2022” thing.

What’s Included In Apple Music Classical?

Lots promised for people well versed in classical music, as well as for the noobs. People who know what they’re listening for can search “by composer, work, conductor, or even catalog number,” according to Apple, and find specific recordings instantly. For the less knowledgable, the company says the app:

…makes it easy for beginners to get acquainted with the genre thanks to hundreds of Essentials playlists, insightful composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, and intuitive browsing features.

Over 5 million tracks are promised for “the world’s largest classical music catalog,” according to Apple, presented “in the highest audio quality (up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless)…”  There are also said to be “thousands of recordings in immersive spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.”

Not to hammer on what’s not there, but I’m kind of bummed to see one thing missing. A piece on the offering from MacRumors points out that there’s “no Radio tab in the ‌Apple Music‌ Classical app…” Of course, there are the classical stations in Apple Music. Users will have access to those because — you can’t can’t have one without the other. According to the list of requirements on the App Store page, Apple Music Classical requires an Apple Music subscription. Any subscription will do except the Apple Music Voice Plan. Other requirements:

  • You have to have an internet connection to listen
  • You have to have an iPhone running iOS 15.4 or later

Apple Music Classical Isn’t For Everyone, At Least Not Yet

Switching back to what’s missing, reports say there’s currently no Android app, though one is said to be on the way. There’s no app dedicated to iPad, though one should be able to run the iPhone app on the tablet. And there’s no mention of a dedicated Apple Music Classical app for the Mac. Also, there are a few countries that will not support Apple Music Classical — or vice versa. The page for the service in the App Store says it’ll be available worldwide, “excluding China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.” 

For places where it will work, you can “Pre-Order” the app now. Don’t be put off by the wording though. The app is free and — again — the music is included with a regular Apple Music subscription.

Oh — and if you want to keep up with the service on Twitter, you can. You can follow the “new app designed for classical music” at @appleclassical

Developers Get More Pricing Options in App Store; Globally Equalized Prices This May

A dizzying number of price points is now available to App Store developers. Continuing a move that started last December, a piece from MacRumors says Apple on Thursday announced that its range of over 900 price points is now available for “paid apps and one-time in-app purchases.” When first introduced, the piece explains that the full range of pricing was only available for auto-renewable subscriptions.

The price options run from as low as $.29 and to as high as $9,999.99 — though developers need special permission to access or offer the 100 highest prices. Apple says the new pricing scheme offers “more flexibility, increasing incrementally across price ranges…” so, every ten-cents up to $10, every fifty-cents between $10 and $50, and so on.

Another feature previously promised is also going wider. MacRumors says:

Apple is (…) adding globally equalized pricing that follows the most common pricing conventions in each country or region, along with worldwide options for a base price.

According to Apple’s developer site, developers can “[s]pecify a country or region [they’re] familiar with as the basis for globally equalized prices across the other 174 storefronts and 43 currencies for paid apps and one‑time in‑app purchases.” That’ll go global in early May, with “pricing for existing apps and one‑time in‑app purchases (…) updated across all 175 App Store storefronts to take advantage of new enhanced global pricing.”

Evercore Sees Huge Potential for Apple in India

Evercore analyst Amit Daryanani is really excited about Apple’s future in India. I told you yesterday of a Bloombergreport that said, internally, Apple was elevating India to its own sales region. Coincidentally, it seems, Evercore’s Daryanani hit with a bullish note on Apple and the subcontinent on the same day.

Apple 3.0 ran part of a note Daryanani wrote midweek, wherein he listed a few catalysts for the Cupertino-company in India. Among them: 

  • The sheer number of people
  • The “recent rollout of 5G infrastructure”
  • A growing middle class
  • Momentum

Making the case for that last one, Daryanani wrote:

During AAPL’s most recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook called out momentum in India (strong double-digit growth, record revenue, record level of iPhone switchers).

What India might do for iPhone near term is not small. Quoting his note again:

…AAPL is well-positioned to grow iPhone units in CY23 and beyond driven by multiple tailwinds. A key growth driver for the company will be growth in emerging markets where current market share is fairly low – especially India (though this should ramp in Brazil, Indonesia and other countries as well).

Not small, but it could get bigger. The way the analyst sees it:

…if we assume AAPL can attain China like market share in India over time (~17%), this could represent incremental iPhone units of ~23M (for a total of 31M units), $22-23B in sales upside and ~$0.40-0.50 of annual EPS upside.

You say Apple’s gonna start viewing India as its own thing, huh? 

Daryanani has an “Outperform” rating on Apple shares. His price target on the shares is $190. 

Apple Confluence in Lyon Reopens Next Week

An old Apple Store is reopening next week. AppleInsider says Apple Confluence in Lyon, France will open again on Friday, March 17. That’ll cap a two-month closure for renovations, during which time Apple … renovated the store.

The whole thing’s weird: Apple didn’t really announce that the store was closing for the reno, though the piece says “AppleCare+ customers were notified.” The store’s site has been updated with a modernized Apple logo but no art of what’s to come. The site also says “Update of the store in progress,” en français, though it doesn’t say what’s changed. It’s not hard to guess, though. Indications are that the store’s look had not changed since its opening in 2012. Expect more natural wood, more modern displays, and frustration figuring out where to go for your Genius appointment. 

Apple TV+  Announces Second Season for ‘Shrinking’

The Apple TV+ comedy “Shrinking” is getting a second season. The Cupertino-streamer issued a press release Thursday saying that the series, co-created by the show’s star Jason Segel and “Ted Lasso” creatives Bill Lawrence and Brett Goldstein, has been renewed for season-two. “Since its premier,” the release says, “‘Shrinking’ has been hailed as ‘one of 2023’s funniest shows,’ as well as the ‘most charming and life-affirming show about grieving ever made.’”

I’d be curious to see what other shows turn up on that list. 

I called Segel “the show’s star,” though he’s not the only one, nor the biggest. This is the one that puts Harrison Ford in “one of his first television roles…” 

Apple’s wasting no time locking in another run. The season-two announcement hits as season-one continues to roll out to viewers. New episodes currently hit on Fridays on Apple TV+.

MLB App for iOS Brings Live Activities Support

And finally today, if you want to watch live baseball but don’t have the time, cable service, or streaming package to actually watch live baseball, iOS 16 has you covered. 

MacRumors says an update to the Major League Baseball (MLB) app has added support for Live Activities. Announced during last year’s WWDC, Apple said:

Live Activities is a new feature that helps users stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game, workout, ride-share, or food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen.

Now, it’s batter up, balls and strikes and all of it — all without having to open the app or even unlock your phone. According to the piece:

After updating to the latest version of the app, users can choose the “Track” option from the list of games to add the up-to-date scoring to the Lock Screen and ‌Dynamic Island‌.

Assuming, of course, you have Dynamic Island. Scores can be tracked through that on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, according to the report.

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I will talk over the Apple Music Classical news… Plus: There’s a rumor that has Apple testing the limits of what one would pay for an iPad… and testing the limits of credulity, in Jeff’s estimation… We’ll hit all of that on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

One thought on “And Tell Tchaikovsky the News!

  • Ken:

    There is indeed great potential for Apple in India. There is a substantial upwardly mobile and aspirational sector with disposable income, despite the majority of her people remaining in relative poverty. Its GDP was 7% last year, and last quarter its growth of 4.4% outperformed that of China So, opportunity beckons.

    Headwinds will include Apple’s somewhat late entry into a PC market supremely dominated by Windows, along with all of its support services and systems. The entire Subcontinent is the one part of the world where yours truly is required to use Parallels in order to host Windows-only platforms simply to conduct due diligence. Another challenge is the ubiquity of Android handsets, similarly supported by apps designed for that platform, and customers being heavily invested in all of the above.

    Apple will require a thoughtful strategy in order to displace some of that brand commitment (loyalty might be too strong of a word where options are slim). On the other hand, those with disposable income who would be customers already know of Apple and many already purchase Apple products when abroad.

    Regarding MLB and live support, one can already get live updates on the app (perhaps I’m thinking only of watchOS). At least on my Apple Watch I can look pull up a game, see not only the score, but who is pitching, who is at bat, and which bases are loaded. It updates in realtime. Perhaps this will be even better on the iPhone app (?)

    As for Apple Classical Music, I’ve downloaded the app. Looking forward to playing with it, but I have to say, I think that serious classical music stations have been hardening their services against just this day by offering so much more informational and other content with services and playlists, including background educational recordings that one can access via station-dedicated apps. Apple have some serious competition for the avid classical music consumer.

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