Apple Considering Standalone iTunes Radio App for iOS 8
Following its introduction at WWDC 2013, Apple's iTunes Radio music streaming service launched alongside iOS 7 in September of last year. The service is available within iTunes on the desktop and the Music app for iOS, allowing users create channels based on artists, genres or songs. To bring attention to the service and increase engagement, Apple may be spinning off iTunes Radio into its own app in iOS 8, according to a report by 9to5Mac.
As a standalone application, users will be able to more quickly access iTunes Radio. Psychologically for users, iTunes Radio will be its own app competing with the likes of the Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio apps found on the App Store. The benefit for Apple, however, is that iTunes Radio will be pre-installed. The interface for the standalone iTunes Radio application is said to be nearly identical to the one found inside of the iOS Music app and its Home screen icon is a terrestrial radio graphic atop a red background.
Apple originally wanted to launch iTunes Radio as a standalone app alongside iOS 6, but those plans allegedly fell through when licensing negotiations with major music labels hit a snag. As envisioned for iOS 8, the new standalone iTunes Radio reportedly would be similar to the current Music app version, continuing to offer Featured Stations and include a browsable music history. iOS users would maintain their ability to create and manage their music channels as well as purchase individual tracks.
Despite being buried within the iOS Music app, iTunes Radio continues to grow in popularity. A recent report from Edison Research and Statista places iTunes Radio as the third most popular music streaming service in the United States, edging out Spotify to land behind market leaders Pandora and iHeartRadio. The breakout of iTunes Radio into its own app in iOS 8 could further boost usage of the service.