the imminence launching the Apple Musical Classical app is great news for anyone who prefers composers to college rock, but the Apple Music spin-off will come with a restrictive limitation at launch.
The list of requirements in the Classic Apple Music preview (opens in a new tab) on the App Store includes a line that says “to listen to music on Apple Music Classical, you must have an internet connection”. And Apple has now confirmed to us that there will be no offline listening option on the Apple Music Classical app, for the time being.
So if you were hoping to listen to Bach in the outback far from a reliable internet connection, unfortunately that won’t be possible on Apple’s standalone classical music app in the same way as on Apple Music and the best streaming services. Whether that will change after its launch on March 28 remains to be seen.
This issue obviously won’t affect home listeners, but a few other drawbacks might. Strangely, there is currently no iPad app for Apple Music Classical and Android users won’t have access to its charms either. Luckily, the latter won’t be the case for long, as Apple says an Android app is “coming soon.”
Despite these drawbacks, Apple Music Classical is shaping up to be a great new bonus service for Apple Music subscribers, who will get it at no extra cost to the usual monthly fee of $10.99 / £10.99 / AU12.99. $. Apple says the app’s catalog will have more than five million tracks and it will stream songs in 24-bit/192kHz high-res lossless quality and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.
This will make Apple Music Classical a great partner for Sonos’ new Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker, the Era 300, which will also launch on March 28 for $449 / £449 / AU$749. Given our practice Sonos Era 300 review already called it a “truly impressive speaker,” we look forward to combining it with Apple Music Classical to kick our cultural credibility up several notches.
Analysis: Slowly building to a crescendo
Apple Music Classical has been in development for at least two years and won’t launch until March 28 – so it’s not too surprising that it arrives with a few features missing.
Apple hasn’t announced an iPad, Mac or Apple Watch app for its new classical music service, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see them in the future – and the same goes for off-air listening. line.
Given that there’s plenty of classical music on standard Apple Music that can be downloaded for offline listening, it seems likely that Apple Music Classical will get the same capabilities once the service is established.
For now, Apple Music Classical’s biggest selling point – and why it’s a separate app from Apple Music – is its organization and search powers. The ability to search by composer, work, conductor, or catalog number means you can quickly collect all recordings of a certain classic work in one place, which isn’t always easy on other services streaming.
Since you can get it for free with an Apple Music subscription, it’s a powerful new feature in Apple’s battle with the Freshly Redesigned Spotify.