Shazam was a true game-changer as one of the first apps to appear in the App Store back in July 2008. With just a tap, Shazam could know almost without any song you heard about it. Shazam was a magical app that used to show off my iPhone, and unlike all those other apps whose novelty wore off in just a few weeks (anyone remembered iBeer?), Shazam has only got better over the years
Apple has long had partnered with Shazam to power Siri’s song identification service, but now the Cupertino giant has confirmed that it is buying the company for a fair $ 400 million, a relative bargain in today’s tech dollars. On the surface, a Shazam purchase ensures that Siri will always be able to identify the song you’re listening to and will provide a boost to Apple Music, but I think Apple has too much bigger plans for the service.
Like everything else Apple seems to be doing it now, it’s about augmented reality and machine learning. And that could be the thing that finally puts Siri back on the front of the pack.
Seeing is believing
Shazam may be a household name when it comes to song identification, but the underlying technology has much broader application. Back in 2015, Shazam added visual recognition to its portfolio, and while it has not caught on enough as its audio capabilities, Apple’s new AR push definitely benefit.
Even with ARKit, Apple is lagging when it comes to augmented reality, especially on the AI side of things. Most notably, Google has introduced a technology with the Pixel 2 called Lens, which works with Assistant to identify and interact with real-world objects. For example, you can point your phone at a building and the assistant will tell you about it, or you can scan a business card and it will automatically add your contacts. Google will soon be rolling out to all Android phones, and once it does, Siri on the iPhone will even more outdated than it already does
But Shazam could give a real boost here While the public face of Shazam’s visual recognition is the main focus on brands-like scanning a movie poster to access a trailer-but Apple could tap into Shazam’s engine to give Siri a whole new class intelligence. We’ve read enough rumors about the Apple car and Apple glasses to see that AR is the next area of focus, and Shazam can help bring that future into view. We know Shazam will amplify Siri’s ears, but it could be a boost to its vision too
Shazam’s main strength is music recognition, and that fits well in Apple’s current strategy. It’s not just Siri on our phones: AirPods, HomePod, and Apple Watch could benefit from Shazam’s uncanny ability to name that tune.
And we could not even ask On the new Pixel phones, Google has implemented a feature that shows the name of a song playing nearby even if Assistant is not asked. It’s a neat feature that’s all done locally, and I use far more often than I thought. A similar feature would be great on the iPhone, and with Shazam’s massive library at Apple’s disposal it would be far superior to Google’s.
But where Shazam could really help Apple wants its new home speaker to “reinvent home music,” but if it does not sound good, that’s hardly revolutionary. If Apple could leverage its Shazam acquisition to build some serious smarts in Home Pod, it could be a difference maker.
We will already be able to ask Siri to play things like the most popular song in 1986, but Shazam could amplify its knowledge considerably It would be great to tap your AirPods and ask “Play the song that goes like this …” or “Play that Ed Sheeran song about Ireland.” Shazam may not be able to do that now, but the groundwork is certainly in place, especially when paired with Apple’s own musical capabilities
And it could go beyond simple song identification too. Apple used to make personalized playlists right on HomePod, based on your listening habits and tastes. Apple Music already creates mixes that are pretty great, but Apple’s machine learning could use what it hears to create customized playlists for the time that only play in our homes. That alone could have cost $ 350 on a Home Pod.
Better but not exclusive
When Apple bought Beats, I expected Apple would have been a new pair. That has not happened Instead, Apple has made the experience better on the iPhone with seamless pairing, a feature that I suspect has actually sold more than iPhones.
I like something while conventional thinking would suggest that Apple will shutter the Android app in a few months, I do not think that will be the case but I do think Shazam will be better on iOS.
Android users will get the same song-identifying Shazam that’s available today while iOS users will enjoy more features, even beyond what’s new products in the bag. Apple likely will not cut people off I think we’ll see a delineation between the Shazam app on the Play Store and the App Store, as Apple enhances its capabilities on iOS and adds unique features.
Apple’s purchase of Shazam may have been a big deal three years ago, but it could have been more of an impact on your Apple devices. Earlier today, TechCrunch reported that Spotify and Snap were also interested in purchasing Shazam, so the potential here is more than just the cornering the market on song identification.
Apple is poised to leap into the AI and AR race with both feet, and Shazam could be the perfect technology to vault them to the head of the class. And if not, well, at least Siri will be better than Assistant and Cortana at IDing songs. That’s worth $ 400 million, right?
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