At long last, Apple will have its very own streaming music service. Dubbed simply Apple Radio — take that, Google Play Music All Access — the free song-player will launch along with iOS 7 in the fall and be a feature of all iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, and even Apple TV. The standard version will be ad supported, while iTunes Match cloud subscribers will enjoy it sans commercials. The news came via the company's annual developers conference on today in San Francisco.
Much like the recently launched Google service, Apple Radio will allow users to customize their listening experience via Pandora-esque stations based on artists, albums, or songs that they like. There will also be 200-plus genre-based stations, which bodes well for the Seapunk community who've been seeking legitimacy ever since more than 12 people knew they existed. Song skipping is included, along with options to "Play more like this" and "Never play this song again."
As seen above, users will be able to fine-tune their stations via a slider whose axis runs from "Top hits" to "Discovery." Also, Siri will be able to take requests, answer questions about what's playing, and respond to the usual commands (pause, play, skip, etc.). Apple is late to the music streaming game in part because negotiations with major labels carried into last week. Each song will include a handy purchase button, and songs already owned will be integrated.
Apple Radio is beginning with a U.S. launch in the fall, but service is expected to expand to other countries shortly thereafter. CEO Tim Cook told conference attendees that the upcoming operating system update will be "the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone" itself (via Yahoo!). While the streaming itself doesn't seem particularly revolutionary, seamless integration between such a service and iTunes will doubtlessly be a big plus for owners of Apple devices.