The surprise announcement at this week’s Apple Unleashed event was a new tier for Apple Music that looks to be perfectly designed for those using the HomePod mini. Apple Music Voice Plan includes the selection of 90 million songs and more than 30,000 curated playlists but is only accessible through Siri.
This means no typing song names into the search bar or browsing through the available new releases section or seeing the song lyrics as they play. It also lacks access to Spatial Audio/Dolby Atmos versions of tracks and doesn’t provide lossless audio versions of songs either.
You can still access the service on multiple devices and provided you know the name of the song, album, playlist or station you want to listen to, you can still find any track. This new service is priced at just $4.99/£4.99 per month – that’s $5/£5 cheaper than the standard subscription.
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While this is advertised as being for all devices, it’s clear that the service will best suit HomePod users. As there’s no buttons or screen on either the HomePod or HomePod mini, you’re not really missing out on anything by picking the Voice Plan. And as there’s currently no support for Spatial Audio or lossless audio on the HomePod devices, you’re not missing out there either.
The HomePod mini also received an upgrade at the Apple event and is now available in three new colors: yellow, blue and orange. These, and the original Space Gray and white versions cost $99/£89 each.
Which Apple Music plan should I get?
If you currently only listen to Apple Music through a HomePod speaker, or tend to use Siri to select your tracks, the new Voice Plan is a sensible option. If, however, you are enjoying the new lossless audio quality and Dolby Atmos versions through a decent set of headphones on a regular basis, paying the extra $5/£5 is still going to be worth it.
If two or more of you in your house use Apple Music on your devices, the family plan at $14.99/£14.99 is a decent saving – and you can add as many as six people to the account. Though again, if all your household is doing is sharing music to an Apple HomePod speaker, the Voice Plan would still be a better option.
For more invested Apple users, the Apple One plans are also worth a look. Starting from $14.95/£14.95, not only do they include Apple Music, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ but they also offer at least 50GB iCloud+ storage and options for Apple News and Fitness.