Inside iOS 7: Apple puts Pandora on notice with iTunes Radio

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple's long-awaited "iRadio" is now an official service under the name iTunes Radio, available to test by developers who have access to the iOS 7 beta.

radio


iTunes Radio is the first thing developers will see when they launch the revamped Music application in iOS 7. The service's functionality and performance are virtual identical to Pandora, the company that has long been the king of Internet streaming radio stations.

Users simply add a new station by searching for an artist name or song title. From there, iTunes Radio will intelligently assemble a mix of songs with a similar sound, allowing users to discover new artists.

One of the key drivers for Apple and record labels alike is music discovery. All of the content streamed through iTunes Radio is available for purchase through the iTunes Store, allowing users to own the song and listen to it at their convenience.

radio


Every song currently streaming features an option to purchase in the upper righthand corner. Users can simply tap the price, then select "Buy Song" to purchase the track.

More information about the current song and artist is also available with an "i" button centered at the top of iTunes Radio. From there, users can view a full list of songs from that album on the iTunes Store, or also create a new iTunes Radio Station from that artist or particular song.

The information pane also includes the necessary copyright and licensing information for that particular track. Apple has also promised that users will be able to "tune" the station, placing an emphasis on top hits, discovery, or a mix of the two, but this function does not currently appear in iOS 7.

radio


Users who subscribe to Apple's iTunes Match service for $24.99 per year will be able to listen to iTunes Radio without any commercial interruptions. That capability comes in addition to the scan-and-match cloud syncing functions already available through iTunes Match.

Apple has also said that iTunes Radio will use scans of a iTunes Match subscriber's entire music collection to make streaming stations more personalized.

One restriction an iTunes Match subscription doesn't appear to allow users to bypass is multiple song skips. After skipping six tracks on a specific station, the skip button will become greyed out, though users can begin streaming a new song by starting another station and returning to the previous one.

radio


Those who don't subscribe to iTunes Match will hear ??and see ? the occasional iAd. Currently, before its launch to the public, iTunes Radio ads are driven by Apple, prompting users to "Give the Gift of iTunes" with a quick 15-second clip. If the iPhone screen is locked, only the accompanying audio plays.

Non-subscribers will also see a "Download on iTunes" link on the iPhone lock screen when streaming content from iTunes Radio. In the current beta, iTunes Match subscribers are not presented with the advertisement on the lock screen, and will only see the appropriate album art.

Users can also launch their own iTunes Radio Stations by speaking to Siri. Simply ask the system to play a specific station saved in iTunes Radio, and the music will begin to stream.

iOS 7 is scheduled to arrive on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this fall. AppleInsider will have ongoing in-depth coverage of Apple's new mobile operating system ahead of its public release.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42


    The iTunes radio icon is rather ... skeuomorphic? :)

  • Reply 2 of 42
    fyngyrzfyngyrz Posts: 61member
    My audio system supports Internet radio, including the ability to hook to Pandora. I listen to Pandora a lot as a direct result. I wonder if Apple will ink some deals with the various receiver / pre-pro manufacturers so that they can compete in that space as well. I really don't listen to music using my iOS devices, unless I'm streaming something from my iTunes library to the main audio system anyway. I could perhaps do that with the new service, if it seemed worth the charge/discharge cycles.

    It'll be interesting to see if Apple can do a better job of selecting "similar" music as compared to Pandora; Pandora, in my opinion anyway, does a mediocre job, and fails miserably in some areas, for instance, if I pick four songs to "seed" a channel, and all of them are notable for high profile bassists, Pandora misses the point and tries for genre, where the songs don't really fall into similarity other than "awesome bass playing." Yet if you do the same thing for guitar, eg Satriani, Hendrix, Petrucci... Pandora promptly plays back other high performance guitarists.

    You'd think with just a few common instruments in rock - guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, vocals - that they'd do the obvious thing, but apparently not. I hope Apple does better.
  • Reply 3 of 42
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    I'm actually looking forward to iTunes Radio... kind of wish they'd bought the name iRadio, but no complaints really.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member


    I'm not looking to just pile on - before yesterday I said that if it were like Pandora, I'll pass.  If like Spotify, I'm in.  To each his or her own, but it's just not for me.  I rather pay $10 per month and avoid ads + be able to search and play individual songs.


     


    I'm sure it'll be very successful for Apple though, no doubt about it.

  • Reply 5 of 42
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I still like Pandora, but hopefully this will push them to improve their iOS app, and make their ads less obtrusive. (Both factors have improved over the last year--I'll give Pandora some credit for that.)

    I have room on my phone for multiple streaming radios, and I like my stored Pandora channels.



    [quote]Originally Posted by StruckPaper

    The iTunes radio icon is rather ... skeuomorphic? :)[/quote]

    How so?

    [I]Icons[/I] of things are not what skeuomorphism means. [I]Being[/I] things is more what skeuomorphism means. If the icon looked like a radio's 3D physical knob, that would be (slightly--not an actual UI control) skeuomorphic.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    gordiogordio Posts: 69member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post


    The iTunes radio icon is rather ... skeuomorphic? :)



    I don't think you know what skeumorphic means...


     


    If the radio icon is skeumorphic, it woudl look like a realistic radio button or tuner or other radio physical features.  Having an icon of a radio is not skeumorphic.

  • Reply 7 of 42
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member
    gordio wrote: »
    I don't think you know what skeumorphic means...

    If the radio icon is skeumorphic, it woudl look like a realistic radio button or tuner or other radio physical features.  Having an icon of a radio is not skeumorphic.

    Yep. Think about the old podcast app with the tape and revolving heads, there is your example. That look needed to go.
  • Reply 8 of 42
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post


    The iTunes radio icon is rather ... skeuomorphic? :)



     


    No, that's no what skeuomorphic means.


     


    Also, not all skeuomorphic is bad. Green felt is bad.

  • Reply 9 of 42
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by allenbf View Post





    Yep. Think about the old podcast app with the tape and revolving heads, there is your example. That look needed to go.


     


    That stuff is cool on novelty apps, but gets old on core apps you use frequently; in that case, functionality and ease-of-use is more important.

  • Reply 10 of 42
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by allenbf View Post


    I'm not looking to just pile on - before yesterday I said that if it were like Pandora, I'll pass.  If like Spotify, I'm in.  To each his or her own, but it's just not for me.  I rather pay $10 per month and avoid ads + be able to search and play individual songs.


     


    I'm sure it'll be very successful for Apple though, no doubt about it.



     


    No way the labels would let Apple do that. They have a double standard for Apple, because Apple is their cash cow and everyone else is the little guy.

  • Reply 11 of 42
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    allenbf wrote: »
    I'm not looking to just pile on - before yesterday I said that if it were like Pandora, I'll pass.  If like Spotify, I'm in.  To each his or her own, but it's just not for me.  I rather pay $10 per month and avoid ads + be able to search and play individual songs.

    I'm sure it'll be very successful for Apple though, no doubt about it.

    It all depends on the use case. I can pay $25 a year and listen ad free radio or have the option of listening to songs I know I like in my own library. I find it better fits my needs than paying $120 a year with nothing to show for it when you stop the subscription. Like everything else it depends on the individual.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    pinolopinolo Posts: 91member
    Amidst all the iOS and OSX news there is a little "skipped" piece. Apple TV. The keynote said it will be available for Apple TV as well. But so far I haven't heard anything about the Apple TV having a beta of iTunes Radio. Add to that the OSX Maverick presentation with a lot of emphasis on the TV screen becoming a full fledged external screen through AirPlay. I think something's boiling...
    Especially if OSX and iOS interfaces have been revamped (one more, one a little less) and Apple TV has been shown no love. Mac Pro might be a "PR issue" but in sheer sales numbers Apple TV has done better. No news about an SDK, no news about a SW refresh, seems quite odd. Particularly considering the "hot fall" Cook hinted at D conference. And.... the game consoles messing around (Xbox One more than PS4, but nevertheless...).
    I think Apple TV in the sense of an "Apple Branded" set top box is in the coming. And after WWDC I am more keen to bet on it than before.

    I might be completely wrong though...
  • Reply 13 of 42
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iSteelers View Post





    Like everything else it depends on the individual.


    Umm?  That's what he said. "To each his own, it's just not for me".

  • Reply 14 of 42
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    pendergast wrote: »
    No way the labels would let Apple do that. They have a double standard for Apple, because Apple is their cash cow and everyone else is the little guy.

    That and because the labels own Spotify.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    The iTunes radio icon is rather ... skeuomorphic? :)

    You are.

    Even your best friends won't tell you either.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    pinolo wrote: »
    Amidst all the iOS and OSX news there is a little "skipped" piece. Apple TV. The keynote said it will be available for Apple TV as well. But so far I haven't heard anything about the Apple TV having a beta of iTunes Radio. Add to that the OSX Maverick presentation with a lot of emphasis on the TV screen becoming a full fledged external screen through AirPlay. I think something's boiling...
    Especially if OSX and iOS interfaces have been revamped (one more, one a little less) and Apple TV has been shown no love. Mac Pro might be a "PR issue" but in sheer sales numbers Apple TV has done better. No news about an SDK, no news about a SW refresh, seems quite odd. Particularly considering the "hot fall" Cook hinted at D conference. And.... the game consoles messing around (Xbox One more than PS4, but nevertheless...).
    I think Apple TV in the sense of an "Apple Branded" set top box is in the coming. And after WWDC I am more keen to bet on it than before.

    I might be completely wrong though...

    Apple did release a beta for Apple TV. For developers.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member


    I don't understand much of this at all.  


     


    First off, even if you ignore the advertising and the fact that the "Genius" feature they use to pick the tracks rarely works for anything other than top 40 hits, if you can't buy the album, but only buy the song, it's a fail for me and a lot of other people right off the bat.  


     


    Secondly, if one already subscribes to iTunes match, that means you have a shit-ton of music already and some kind of facility for picking your own music out of the store.  It also means that you likely have enough music in the Cloud that you can use the ability to "access your music anywhere" and listen to your own playlists, instead of listening to what amounts to the digital equivalent of AM radio.  


     


    Who is this service for if it's not almost exclusively for people who don't really like or care about their music very much?  The type of person that listens to Top 40 radio would love this thing.  Music lovers ... not so much. 

  • Reply 18 of 42
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pinolo View Post



    Amidst all the iOS and OSX news there is a little "skipped" piece. Apple TV. The keynote said it will be available for Apple TV as well. But so far I haven't heard anything about the Apple TV having a beta of iTunes Radio. Add to that the OSX Maverick presentation with a lot of emphasis on the TV screen becoming a full fledged external screen through AirPlay. I think something's boiling...

    Especially if OSX and iOS interfaces have been revamped (one more, one a little less) and Apple TV has been shown no love. Mac Pro might be a "PR issue" but in sheer sales numbers Apple TV has done better. No news about an SDK, no news about a SW refresh, seems quite odd. Particularly considering the "hot fall" Cook hinted at D conference. And.... the game consoles messing around (Xbox One more than PS4, but nevertheless...).

    I think Apple TV in the sense of an "Apple Branded" set top box is in the coming. And after WWDC I am more keen to bet on it than before.



    I might be completely wrong though...


     


    first off, if you have iOS or OSX iTunes with radio... it's on your appleTV via airplay.


     


    2nd... AppleTV, while on the edge of everyone's wish list for WWDC, is really a fall event sort of thing... when iOS7 and OSX.9 ship, AppleTV update will ship the capability as well.  Fall is Fall. which is not Spring which is now.  Given that AppleTV is an iOS fork, the SDK's should just work.  One thing is for sure, the 'flattened' interface will move to the AppleTV face.


    [UPDATE: beta already released to Devs]


     


     


    3rd) boiling?  nah... simmering.   


     


    I think one key thing that Apple is 'not' saying is... ubiquity via iCloud and wireless.  Screen Sharing/Mission Control was a tidbit ($100 is a cheap when hooking up a 60" TV compared to a 25' HDMI cable). I'm sensing that 802.11ac is a big deal in that all of a sudden you've got gigabits flying around your home between _multiple_ devices.


     


    Think about a fleet of 'ac' enabled devices in the fall.  iPhoneNext iPadNext Apple TVNext, RetinaMacbookPros, iMacs, iPods.   4K displays....  If an Apple Device can render 4K (or nearly 4K), what about a display...  hey, what if that display had AppleTV connected to it (via Thunderbolt).  


     


    4K resolution requires on the order of 600mbits/sec compressed for 60fps...Airport Express' 'ac' can pump up to 1.3Gbps (likely 2 antenna on a laptop/AppleTV), whereas 'n' could 'only' deliver 450Gbps.   You wonder why they expanded for 6 antenna? because 2 won't be enough to drive 2 devices at 4K speed.


     


    If you weren't driving to a NAS device (Apple doesn't sell one), where else would you want this level of network performmance...  to your 'airplay display'


    Method... meet madness.


     


    Wires are so 20th century. 

  • Reply 19 of 42
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    pendergast wrote: »
    Green felt is bad.

    I beg to differ:

    400

    And how could thousands of Santa's elves be wrong?

    ;)
  • Reply 20 of 42
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    I don't understand much of this at all.  


     


    First off, even if you ignore the advertising and the fact that the "Genius" feature they use to pick the tracks rarely works for anything other than top 40 hits, if you can't buy the album, but only buy the song, it's a fail for me and a lot of other people right off the bat.  


     


    Secondly, if one already subscribes to iTunes match, that means you have a shit-ton of music already and some kind of facility for picking your own music out of the store.  It also means that you likely have enough music in the Cloud that you can use the ability to "access your music anywhere" and listen to your own playlists, instead of listening to what amounts to the digital equivalent of AM radio.  


     


    Who is this service for if it's not almost exclusively for people who don't really like or care about their music very much?  The type of person that listens to Top 40 radio would love this thing.  Music lovers ... not so much. 



     


    I don't understand your distaste for the idea of iTunes Radio. It's essentially Pandora integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Lot's of people use Pandora. I have a lot of music, but sometimes I want to listen to stuff I don't have (on that note, it would be cool if you could make it play only stuff you don't have through iTunes).


     


    I've discovered quite a bit of good music through Genius, not just "Top 40"; also, didn't they buy LaLa? So it's not just Genius.


     


    Personally, as "iRadio" takes off, I suspect that it won't be iTunes Match that includes ad-free radio, but rather it will be iTunes Match that's included when you opt to pay for no ads.


     


    Also, regarding buying songs vs. albums... does it matter? You can just complete the album later.


     


    Maybe you don't like internet radio, but that doesn't mean it's not for music lovers.

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