Details of Apple's plans for iOS 8 are beginning to emerge. In addition
to assorted improvements, Apple is reportedly going to extract the
iTunes Radio feature from the Music app and give it its own space, front
and centre. The move follows similar treatment of the Videos, Podcasts
and iTunes U sections over the years.
Apple's move, reported by
9to5mac, could be an attempt to increase visibility and usage of its
free music streaming service and make it more competitive with similar
apps from Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio, amongst others. Samsung has
also recently launched its own streaming service, called Milk, in the
US. According to figures from Statista, Pandora currently dominates the
US web radio streaming market with 31 percent listener share, with
iHeartRadio a distant second at 9 percent, and iTunes Radio close behind
at 8 percent.
It is not clear whether the decision is final, or
even whether iTunes Radio app will be preinstalled on all iOS devices or
offered as an optional download. Preinstalling the app would give Apple
a distinct advantage over its competitors. The app's functionality
would be identical to the current iTunes Radio app within the Music app.
increased usage will come improved ad revenue. The iTunes Radio service
is free and ad-supported, although users who sign up for the paid
iTunes Match service do not receive ads.
iTunes Radio is currently
available in the US and Australia, though 9to5mac also reports that the
company is aggressively trying to expand its licensing arrangements to
other major markets, including Canada and the UK.
iTunes Radio along with iOS 7 in September 2013, following years of
speculation that it would move from offering outright purchases of music
to a subscription-based model, following the emergence of new