Everyone knew that Apple would be announcing some sort of music streaming service at this year’s WWDC. Rumors have been heating up for months leading up to today’s announcement. While most speculated that Apple would release an music subscription service, what we got was a music streaming service, iTunes Radio, which will go head to head with Pandora but only parts of Spotify, Rdio, Xbox Music, and Google Play Music All Access. Both iTunes Radio and Pandora serve up intelligent radio stations but neither of them provide access to a music library where users can stream and download tracks on demand.
iTunes Radio will be built directly into the iOS 7 music app. Users will be greeted to a familiar interface for browsing music. Mixes and radio stations appear in a carousel. Tap on radio station and music will begin to play. You can train iTunes Radio to recommend what types of songs you like or dislike, similar to Pandora’s “thumb” system.
The service will be free to all iTunes Match subscribers ($24.99/year) or free with ads. iTunes Radio will be coming in the fall to all iOS devices that support iOS 7 as well as iTunes for Mac and Windows and the AppleTV. iTunes Radio will be launching in the US first.