Apple Music for the Web is Here, and it Continues to Run on Ember

Well, this is surprising, and delightful!

As some of you may know, I’m an avid Apple Music user (shocker). I’ve never really been a big fan of Spotify as some of my friends and co-workers are. It’s always seemed like a second-hand service to me. They’re meddling in my favorite podcasts, they rob musicians of their dues, they maintain a music player that catalyzes scandals and increments false play counts. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Spotify is selling their users data, wether or not you’re a Premium or Free subscriber.

Umm, no thanks.

But, enough about all that preface. Previously, when I’m away from my home computer or iPhone, and want to listen to my Apple Music library on my work computer I only had one option. I had to sign-in to Apple Music on my work MacBook.

Well, now I don’t have to anymore! Enter the Apple Music for Web (beta) web app!

Apple Music for Web (with dark mode enabled no less)

I’ve only played around a little bit with the player, some of my radio stations and my music library for a couple of hours now. I have to say, it’s a pretty great beta! Not too many bugs, it’s a decent start.

I had read a long time ago when Apple Music originally launched, that the Apple Music application on MacOS was Ember-powered. I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical at the time. But lo and behold 4 years ago, the evidence:

I was able to hunt down a few recent job postings at Apple for Software/UI Engineers that required some Front-end experience with Ember, React and/or Angular. Very curious right?

So, that got me thinking, I wonder if the Apple Music web app itself is still an EmberJS web app? Welp, let’s just inspect this bad boy!

Well, well, well. Hello old friend.

Confirmed! Apple Music is indeed still leveraging Ember for the front-end. Makes sense. Ember is very mature and stable (it also lacks some of the baggage that other open-source frameworks comes with). Looks like Ember needs to update their “Ember Users” page! This was a pretty cool find!

The timing is conspicuous here. Apple is just now getting skin in the web music player game, as iTunes prepares to deconstruct itself in MacOS Catalina this fall. It means that this was likely their game-plan all along. Very impressive coordination. Apple wants to beef up their music services marketshare, and for good reason too — Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge writes:

As for the logic of adding a web interface, the move allows Apple to bring Apple Music to other platforms — like Chrome OS or Linux — without having to develop and support a custom app for each platform. Web support also puts Apple on par with its biggest competitor in the music sphere: Spotify. The Swedish streaming service, which became the first platform to hit 100 million paid subscribers earlier this year, has offered a web player for years that allows subscribers to access music without having to install a full-fledged app.

Also, if you’re interested in learning how to make a web app, or for that matter how to create an Ember app, start here. Ember maintains an excellent library of documentation, guides and tutorials.

Update: I discovered to my chagrin, that AirPods continue to work as expected with the Beta. That is to say, if you have your AirPods configured to pause music with a double-tap and you’re listening with a paired Mac over the web Beta, double-tapping will pause your music. Nicely done Apple. It’s the little things that matter most.

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