Apple announced its long-rumored streaming music service, iTunes Radio, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California today. Other big announcements included OS X Mavericks and an updated MacBook Air and Mac Pro.
Dubbed iRadio by the press leading up to today’s announcement, the streaming music service is integrated into the existing Music app and will be available with the iOS 7 update, which will launch sometime this fall.
Just one of many new features included in the major overhaul of iOS, iTunes Radio will be similar in style to Pandora rather than Spotify or Google Play Music: All Access. Immediately when the iTunes Radio tab is opened in the Music app, users are treated to Featured Stations. Users will be able to browse through 200 stations curated by Apple, create their own stations and view songs that are currently trending on Twitter; essentially duplicating the service Twitter Music offers its users. iTunes Radio can also be launched via Siri.
Once listening to a station, users will be able to share the station with friends or create a new station based on a particular song. Users can also swipe to skip a current song. There was no word in the demo if there is a limit on the number of songs a user can skip per hour like there is with Pandora.
Within a station, users can also star a track, marking it as a favorite, and ask for “more like this,” to further tailor a station to their interests. During the demo, which was pushed towards the end of the two-hour Keynote, Apple showed off its music catalog, playing a Led Zeppelin song, making it the first streaming service to offer the Led Zeppelin catalog of music to its users.
iTunes Radio is free and supported by ads, but users who subscribe to iTunes Match, which is priced at $24.99 per year, will get the service sans advertisements. iTunes Radio will launch this fall and will be integrated into the Music app in iOS 7 which will be available for iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and fifth generation iPod Touch and later. iTunes Radio is also supported by Mac and Apple TV. It will initially be launched only in the U.S, but presumably other markets will soon follow.