Hot on the heels of recent Apple Watch app overhauls from Spotify and Deezer, Tidal announced today that it’s finally bringing its app to the most popular smartwatch. And yes, you can download offline playlists for untethered playback.
Tidal has instructions on how to get started on its website, but the process is simple. All you have to do is be a Tidal subscriber, download the Apple Watch app, and then link your accounts via your web browser. A Tidal subscription starts at $11.99 per month, and Tidal Masters, its lossless Hi-Fi streaming tier, is $23.99. You’ll also need at least an Apple Watch Series 3 running watchOS 7.2 or later. Tidal has been available on Samsung’s smartwatches, but otherwise hasn’t had a presence on any other wearables.
While Tidal’s calling card is Hi-Fi audio streaming, it’s unlikely that will transfer to the Apple Watch app. For starters, Hi-Fi streaming is pretty limited over Bluetooth and wireless earbuds — which is how you’d stream Tidal content on the Apple Watch. Gizmodo asked Tidal to confirm whether HiFi streaming on the Apple Watch would be possible, but did not immediately receive a response. Another indicator is that when Apple announced its own upcoming lossless audio streaming, it came with the caveat that its AirPods Max and AirPods Pro would be unable to support the format.
Even so, this is a move that makes a lot of sense. Both Apple and Spotify will be adding Hi-Fi streaming to their respective services this year, meaning Tidal’s going to have to differentiate itself if it wants to keep subscribers from jumping ship. Adding an Apple Watch app isn’t all that unique, but its omission would be glaring considering that Spotify and Deezer just added offline playlist capability. This way, Tidal is at least on par with its competitors.
Also unclear is whether Tidal plans to also release an app for the forthcoming unified Wear-Tizen platform Google and Samsung announced last week. Gizmodo asked Tidal for comment but did not receive a response before publication. That said, Tidal might have an easier go of the process, as it already has a Tizen-based app that supports offline playback. That could be clutch for Tidal, as right now, it’s slim pickings when it comes to music streaming apps for Android wearables.
The current Wear OS Spotify app is a glorified remote, and Google shut down the Play Music app months ago. And while there’s an Apple Watch version of the YouTube Music app, that won’t come out for the new Wear platform until later this year. Being the first music streaming app to support the new Wear platform might give Tidal a much-needed edge, but only time will tell.