It's been a big week of change for Apple, which recently unveiled new chips and computers and rolled out its Apple Pay Later feature that had previously been in beta. Another big change is to Apple Music, because Apple has discontinued its cheapest tier: the Apple Music Voice Plan. The low-cost tier of Apple Music had previously allowed budget-conscious Apple Music subscribers to access the platform's full catalog for $5 per month, without ads. The catch was right in the name: users could only play songs by using their voice, through Apple's smart assistant — Siri.
In addition to being an affordable way to stream music, Apple Music Voice Plan was ideal for users who primarily used the app through HomePod — Apple's voice-controlled smart speaker — as well as other Siri-enabled devices like Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad. But SlashGear has noted several ways the plan was far inferior to higher-priced Apple Music tiers. Besides being limited to how you could control the app and select music, users were also unable to create custom playlists or even add songs to their libraries. Plus, songs were only available in standard quality, unlike other tiers which provided lossless and Dolby Atmos tracks. Siri could also struggle with songs and artists with unusual or hard-to-pronounce names.
With all these drawbacks, Apple Music Voice Plan may not be missed by many, though users might not be thrilled to have to switch to a more expensive tier. Subscribing to the plan has been discontinued as an option, and current subscriptions will likely be ended by Apple in the near future.
Apple is raising prices for other subscriptions
Apple hasn't publicly given a reason why it's discontinuing the Apple Music Voice Plan, but the move comes with recent price hikes to several of its subscription services. Apple TV+, the company's streaming platform that has had big success with TV shows like "Ted Lasso," will have its price raised from $6.99 per month to $9.99 per month. The move has been met with some dismay from current subscribers, namely because the streaming library of Apple TV+ is considerably smaller than its major competitors.
Apple Arcade and Apple News are also seeing price increases to $6.99 and $12.99, respectively. The company has pushed its users to subscribe to Apple One since its launch in 2020, which bundles several of its services at a discount and includes access to Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+. However, the monthly rate for Apple One has also just gone up, from $16.95 to $19.95 for individuals and from $22.95 to $25.95 for the Family plan. Its most expensive Premier plan — which includes Fitness+, News+, and additional iCloud storage — also increased to $37.95. All of these price changes were made effective immediately for new customers, while existing subscribers can expect to see their bills go up within a month.
For Apple Music Voice Plans, subscribers looking to stick with Apple Music will have to upgrade to either the $10.99 per month Individual plan or $16.99 per month Family Plan. Students, however, can take advantage of a cheaper $5.99 per month Student tier (that can be controlled with more than just Siri).