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Offline Music: Google Play Music Wins
Both Apple Music and Google Play Music offer the ability to download music for offline listening. This comes in handy if you want to save on cellular data. It’s also great for road trips with spotty cellular reception. Google Play Music, with its 320kbps format, offers superior audio quality. I also find it easier to manage downloaded music and switch to offline-only mode. Google Play Music also gives users more flexibility when it comes to selecting audio quality. If you don’t care about quality, you can store much more music on your device with Google Play Music.
Transmit Audio: Google Play Music Wins
Apple was once the leader in beaming audio and video to devices. Evolving from AirTunes, their AirPlay technology was an industry leader. Although there were some nascent media beaming technologies, such as Intel’s WiDi, AirPlay offered more features and worked across more apps and services.
Times have changed. Apple overhauled AirPlay, and the results, at least with Apple TV, have been disastrous. The bullet-proof stability is no longer there. The AirPlay overhaul does initiate playback faster. It seems that they accomplished this by reducing or eliminating the buffer. Without a buffer, any small network disruption will result in an audio dropout. It’s very frustrating. Unfortunately, with Apple Music, AirPlay is your best option. You can also use a Bluetooth speaker, but it’s even more limited in terms of range, audio quality and reliability. If you want to use Chromecast, it may be possible, but it requires a lot of fiddling. Apple Music doesn’t offer native support for Chromecast. DRM compatibility seems to be the culprit.
Google Play Music works with AirPlay, Chromecast and Bluetooth. If Apple doesn’t improve reliability with AirPlay 2, I either need to use my old Apple TV 2 or buy a Chromecast.
Social Media: Google Play Music Wins
Both Apple Music and Google Play Music have basic social media sharing capabilities. The problem is that Apple Music is only friendly with paying customers. When you share an album or playlist with Apple Music, users must have a subscription in order to hear a single note. It won’t even play 90 second samples. Google Play Music, on the other hand, offers a free radio station when you share an album, artist, playlist or song. Your recipient won’t get to hear the whole album. They might not even hear a single track from that album. But they will hear a relevant radio station, usually with a few tracks from that album and several songs from the artist. It’s all subsidized by advertising, so don’t feel guilty about sharing.
Ease of Use: Google Play Music Wins
Apple is known as the user experience company. Many of their user interfaces are intuitive and easy to use. Apple isn’t a monolith, however. They are composed of different product teams. The excellent UI found on macOS and iOS doesn’t necessarily extend to built-in apps. Apple Music offers a clumsy user interface with a lot of defects. They put settings in multiple locations — some within the app and others in iOS Settings. I honestly think their development team was composed mostly of summer interns. It’s that bad. It’s also shamelessly derivative of Spotify. next page →