What a drag. 9to5Mac reported that Apple plans to "demote" Apple Music Connect—one of the most exciting features in Apple Music—in iOS 10. If accurate (like all of Mark Gurman's reports, I frankly assume it is) this news is a major disappointment, and it should be taken as an embarrassment within Apple.
Apple Music Connect - Neglected
Apple Music Connect was supposed to be a way for artists to connect with fans. Through Connect, artist could post content such as b-sides, alternate mixes, messages to fans, videos, playlists, and just about anything else they wanted. Better yet (in my opinion), it was available to big, small, indie, and every other artist on Apple Music.
This is exactly the sort of thing that artists and fans alike want. Apple Music Connect, as described, was...perfect. In implementation and practice, it might be the most egregious failure of design in Apple Music, which is a pretty impressive achievement considering.
Artists have complained about difficulty in posting content, which leads directly to fans complaining about there being too little content. Writing for Macworld in 2015, Susie Ochs put it this way: "Turning off Connect makes Apple Music better." John Gruber's developer partner, Dave Wiscus, wrote up a detailed critique of Connect after it launched, and here's a look at one of his songs uploaded to Connect.
The point is that despite having all the promise of being awesome, Connect has failed, and that failure is all about implementation, not concept. Exclusive content from musicians is a no-brainer idea, but it never worked well in Apple Music Connect. For anyone.
And now we're finding out that rather than improving it—rather than taking the abundant feedback from artists, fans, and critics alike, Apple is judging Connect a failure, removing it from the main Apple Music interface, and according to Mr. Gurman, it will not get any "notable new features this year."
"Demote" is Apple code for "it's probably going away and we're going to tuck it out of the way to illustrate how much attention we aren't giving it."
It's ridiculous, really. Apple is the biggest single force on the planet when it comes to music. Apple has one of the best ecosystems of users, software, and devices on the planet. Apple makes more money than any other company on the planet. Apple has some of the best minds in music working on Apple Music, and it can throw more resources into making something like Connect work than the next 50 competitors combined.
But instead of fixing it, Apple is punting. It's ridiculous, shameful, absurd—the list of negative descriptors I could throw at this is long, deep, and biting.
Coulda Been a Contender
You may ask why I'm so pissy about this, and I can tell you. Apple Music Connect could have been great, and it should be great. It should be something I want to use. For that matter, Ping was also a great idea, though I may be alone in that assessment.
But Apple isn't willing to do what it takes to make Connect great. Instead, it's going to be one of a long line of Apple software and services that is rolled out and ignored. Everyone and their brother is already saying it's been "Pinged." That shouldn't be a thing, but even if it wasn't, we could say it's been "iToolsed" or ".Macced" or "HomePaged" or "iDisked" or "Apertured" or "iLifed" or "iWorked" or "HomeKitted" or "iAded" or "WebObjectsed" or...you get the idea.
It's become all too common and I find it frustrating.