Apple Music is among the most popular audio streaming services in the world and it continues to improve over time. It’s not just limited to Apple devices; You can use Apple Music even on Android smartphones, computers, smart speakers from Amazon or Google, and any web browser. Also, the addition of high-resolution audio streaming without price increase has made this one of the most popular services. India’s best-equipped and cost-effective streaming audio, particularly if you have at least one Apple gadget to use it.
With the new iOS 15.2 update, Apple is now rolling out support for the Apple Music Voice Plan, which is now the most affordable tier available on the service. Priced from Rs. 49 per month in India, Apple Music Voice Plan gives you access to the streaming service’s full catalog of over 90 million tracks on compatible devices, but with one caveat: you need to use voice commands to Siri to request tracks or playlists. I had the chance to try it out and see how the new Apple Music Voice Plan works.
Apple Music Voice Plan: Price, Free Trial Details
Announced globally in October 2021, Apple Music Voice Plan costs Rs. 49 per month in India. This plan gives you access to individual tracks and selected playlists. You get uninterrupted ad-free streaming, the ability to skip tracks, and more.
Interestingly, you can even try the service for free before subscribing; There’s a seven-day free trial that you can activate with just a voice command, no need to enter payment details. You can also get a three-month free trial, which will automatically start charging after that period, using any payment method linked to your Apple account. The most important point to note is that the only way to access most content with Voice Plan is through voice commands to Siri on a compatible device.
Apple Music Voice Plan: Compatible Devices
Apple Music Voice Plan works with voice commands for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant for your smartphones and other devices. That said, to be able to subscribe to the Voice Plan or even use the free trial, you need to be on iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, watchOS 8.3, tvOS 15.2, macOS 12.1 or software version 15.2 for the HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers. sound.
Of course, you’ll also need a device that has Siri voice assistant built in and internet connectivity. I tried using voice commands to search for tracks and playlists on various devices, including an Apple HomePod mini, Apple iPhone 13, and a CarPlay-compatible system with the same iPhone connected. It also works on Apple Watch, AirPods headphones and headphones, Mac computers and Apple TV streaming devices.
Apple Music Voice Plan: How does it work?
I activated the Apple Music Voice Plan 7-Day Trial on HomePod mini with a simple voice command: “Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice Trial”. The iPhone linked to the same Apple account as the HomePod mini showed that I was successfully enrolled in the free trial and was able to play tracks and playlists on both the smart speaker and smartphone.
For Voice Plan subscribers, the Apple Music app on any device will display basic recommendations and limited listening history via the ‘Listen Now’ tab. Some of these tracks and playlists can be played without voice commands, but this list is limited. This is the only part of the experience that is not voice dependent and searching for specific tracks is not possible through the app.
The Search tab shows many recommendations and suggestions, categorized by genre, mood, and other criteria. However, I was only able to play those tracks or playlists with a voice command to Siri. The catalog is extensive, but the experience largely depends on you telling Apple’s voice assistant how to proceed.
I was able to search for virtually any selected track or playlist with a voice command. Playing a track is simple and worked well for me on the HomePod mini and iPhone 13 mini. I was able to play most tracks with simple voice commands, and Siri is suited to Indian accent and usage preferences. When I requested a single track, Apple Music automatically triggered a playlist of recommendations based on it to keep playing after it was over.
I was also able to order multiple playlists by genre, era, and artist. This included slightly complicated requests like ‘play upbeat music from the 1980s’ or ‘play Hindi music with Shah Rukh Khan’, with Siri usually managing to generate a decent playlist based on the request.
With the language set to English (India), Siri can also receive requests in some regional languages, but it works better when speaking English. It’s worth noting that Apple Music features like track downloads, lossless audio streaming, and spatial audio with Dolby Atmos are not supported on the voice plan for now. You also cannot create custom playlists or add tracks to your library unless you purchased them through iTunes.
Siri and Apple Music are suitable for working with voice commands on supported devices, which will be key for the Voice Plan to work. However, being able to just use voice commands to search for tracks has its downsides. Often I couldn’t play remixes or specific versions of a track, or a remix or cover version would play when I wanted the original.
The longer the track or artist name, the longer the command, and this often led to Siri errors and playing the wrong track. This can easily be fixed by manually searching a track for text, but that’s not an option here.
Apple Music is arguably the best streaming service in India right now, thanks to wide availability, access to high resolution tracks and Dolby Atmos, and a huge library covering a wide range of genres and artists. If you’re in India, the value is even better, with prices considerably lower than equivalents in most global markets. If you already own Apple devices like an iPhone or HomePod mini, an Apple Music subscription is a no-brainer.
The Voice Plan, despite its limitations on music access, is a nice addition to the existing options, giving users an affordable way to get started with premium music streaming. It might make sense for buyers to buy more affordable iPhone or iPad models, but again, the Rs. 99 per month (or Rs. 999 per year) is not much more expensive and offers considerably more functionality.
Also, an Apple One or Apple Music Family plan offers better value, especially in India. If you qualify for the Student Plan, which also costs Rs. 49 per month, you’ll get all the same features as the more expensive Individual Plan.
That said, the Apple Music Voice Plan can be particularly useful if you have HomePod mini headphones or AirPods, which are built to work seamlessly with Siri voice assistant. It might be worth getting started, before eventually transitioning to the Rs. 99 per month Individual Plan or Rs. 149 per month Family Plan. It can even be used long-term if you usually listen to most of your hearing on a smart speaker like the HomePod mini.