Is it really a year since we reported that Apple was working on Apple Classical, which will "look and work like the main Apple Music app, but it'll be available separately and presumably for less money"? It is, but at long last the app is actually here. And as we predicted, it looks and works like the main Apple Music app on iPhone, but it's available separately and costs less money.
In fact, it doesn't cost any money at all: it's free if you're an Apple Music subscriber. I wasn't expecting that.
The app is live in the App Store today, but the service doesn't launch until 28 March. And it looks like it's going to be something special for classical music fans.
What is Apple Music Classical?
According to Apple, the app will give you access to the world's largest classical music catalogue in Hi-Res Lossless Audio, with over 5 million tracks available in the highest audio quality (up to 192KHz/24-bit).
One of the most interesting bits of the announcement – bear with me on this one – was about the tracks' metadata. In addition to the usual search options, Apple Music Classical will make it easy to find specific recordings instantly – something that's a really big deal for classical music buffs, because of course most composers' best works have been performed by a huge number of orchestras over the years, so you need a search facility that's a bit more precise than just looking for Górecki's third or Beethoven's ninth.
Apple also says that it will deliver "hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, intuitive browsing features and much more", and that it will be working with musicians and music institutions to deliver "unique and exclusive content and recordings."
The app will be available almost everywhere (but not China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan at first) for iPhones running iOS 15.4 or later and you can pre-order it now; it's free if you have any of the Apple Music subscriptions, including Apple One bundles and the student plan.