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APPLE WWDC REVEALS: 27M SUBSCRIBERS, HOMEPOD UNVEILED

You had to dig into the WWDC dog-and-pony show, which went down Monday in San Jose, to locate the music-focused info, but the presentation included several noteworthy updates and offerings.

Not the least of them was the announcement that Apple Music’s subscriber base is now at 27 million, two years after launch. Apple had been mum about subscriber growth since December, when the premium streaming service said it had hit 20m. Spotify’s latest update in March had the dominant streamery at 50m subscribers.

Apple Music is also taking another stab at the social sector, where it has yet to connect (no pun intended), enabling users to create profiles, share playlists and songs (a la Spotify) and check out what people you follow are listening to as well. These new features will kick in with the arrival of iOS 11 this fall.

Apple also spotlighted MusicKit, which allows developers to integrate Apple Music with their apps; Shazam and Nike are among the developers already using MusicKit.

The sexiest musical offering is the HomePod, Apple’s entry into the interactive-speaker market already occupied by the dominant Amazon Echo and Google Home. The HomePod’s features include spatial-awareness recognition, designed to allow the speaker at adjust its tuning to achieve optimal sound in whatever space it’s located, and an Alexa-like “Musicologist” in which Siri will not only play any song on demand from Apple Music but also answer detailed questions, like who played on it and when it was released. The HomePod will also control smart-home devices and give news and weather updates like its competitors. It will be available in black or white finishes and will sell for $349.

You’ll find more detail at The Verge, which gained access to a unit and ran it through its paces.

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