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Apple Targets Spotify Subs With New AirPods, Cheap Music Plans

While most Apple-watchers were most excited by the new line of Macbook Pro computers, the tech giant also announced a number of audio products that suggests it has Spotify firmly in its sights.

Firstly, the company announced the first refresh of its entry-level AirPods in two years, the third generation of the AirPods.

The AirPods 3 look an awful look like the more-expensive AirPods Pro, but retail at $279 (as opposed to $399). As you’d expect for that price point, the entry-level AirPods won’t feature active noise cancellation, but have been equipped with a special acoustic mesh and an inset microphone in each earbud in order to cut wind noise.

They also sport spatial audio support, adaptive EQ, and a new dynamic driver that highlights bass tones and high-end treble alike.

Battery life now tops out at six hours – a marked improvement on the previous generation.


More interesting is Apple’s new Siri-only music plan, or the Apple Music Voice Plan as the company dubs it, which retails at A$5.99 per month and gives full access to the same deep catalogue (90 million tunes and counting), playlists, genre stations, and Apple Music Radio — the catch being that you can only use it via Siri.

“Apple Music and Siri are natural partners and already work seamlessly together,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.

“With Siri actively used on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, we are thrilled to add this new plan that delivers an effortless music experience just by using your voice and makes Apple Music accessible to even more people around the world.”

The idea seems to be to lure away some of the Spotify subscribers with an offering that halves the monthly cost, and then (possibly) super size them with Apple Music’s premium offerings, which include Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, and, of course, the ability to ditch Siri.

Finally, Apple introduced new colourways — blue, yellow and orange — for the HomePod mini, which will be available from November.

Spotify’s shares dipped briefly after Apple’s announcement, but had recovered shortly after.


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