Apple kills one of its cheapest ever products leaving some facing higher bills
Apple has quietly discontinued its Apple Music Voice Plan, the £4.99 subscription to Apple Music that could only be controlled via the Siri voice assistant. At that price, it was one of Apple’s cheapest ever products, but the tech giant has opted to can its most affordable music service option.
It means that the cheapest Apple Music subscription is now the £5.99 student plan, but you need to prove you are in full time education to get that special price. Apple Music otherwise is £10.99 per month, an increase of £6 over the Voice Plan.
Apple launched the Apple Music Voice Plan at an October 2021 event, pointing out its affordability and ease of use.
“Apple Music and Siri are natural partners and already work seamlessly together,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats said at the time. “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.”
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The iPhone company has not confirmed why exactly it has stopped offering the cheap Voice Plan, but the wording of a support page on Apple’s website suggests the firm wasn’t completely happy with the user experience:
“We are focused on delivering the best, most robust music experience possible for our customers, with features like immersive Spatial Audio, Apple Music Sing with real-time lyrics, intuitive browse and discovery features, and so much more. All Apple Music plans already work seamlessly with Siri, and we will continue to optimise this experience.”
Though Voice Plan offered Spatial Audio for AirPods and other features, it could be that Apple felt not being able to interact with the Apple Music app on a smartphone apart from Siri commands was not the best way to use the service. Then again, people on the cheapest subscription could well have been using it exclusively on a HomePod speaker using just their voice to play songs – and enjoying a £6 monthly saving.
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The Voice Plan did not allow subscribers to use Apple Music on non-Apple devices, would only stream in standard quality audio, plus wouldn’t allow the creation of custom playlists. These are popular features for all music streaming services, suggesting a voice-only Apple Music tier was a discount too far.
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