Arriving yesterday to registered developers, the first beta version of watchOS 4.1 for the Apple Watch brought two major new features. Along with the ability to stream Apple Music over an LTE connection, a new Radio app has been added into the mix.
Since Apple doesn’t offer a public preview of watchOS betas, we’re highlighting what Apple Watch owners can expect when the software officially lands after more rounds of developer testing.
The new Radio app
Apple Music subscribers have access to a large number of different stations.
Anyone can stream Beats 1 and a number of different news channels using the new Apple Watch app. You’ll need to be an Apple Music subscriber to listen to any other stations.
After opening up the app, you’ll see all of the different stations and can scroll through each using the Digital Crown.
Select the cover art to begin playback.
Currently, the Radio app is only usable when connected to an iPhone or Wi-Fi. It can’t be used while on LTE. But Apple should fix that issue by the time the software officially lands.
Rock out, anywhere
Streaming music over LTE works well and is especially great when using AirPods.
And Apple Music subscribers, especially anyone with a Series 3 Apple Watch with LTE, should definitely be happy to hear that they’ll soon be able to stream any content from the service without needing to download it to the watch first.
There are no substantial UI changes in the Music app compared to watchOS 4.0. The only change is that you can listen to all of your songs, playlists, and more when only connected via cellular or Wi-Fi.
When streaming music over Bluetooth from the watch, the sound quality isn’t perfect but more than acceptable. At least when I had a strong LTE connection with Verizon, browsing music and skipping tracks was near instantaneous.
Overall, streaming is a great additional feature for Apple Music users and should even help garner some holdouts from other services like Spotify.
Do you have any questions about the new Radio app or streaming Apple Music? Let us know in the comments.