Hardware and software weren’t the only areas of Apple’s portfolio that got attention at its WWDC 2013 keynote. The company announced two cloud services as well: iWork for iCloud, and the long-awaited iTunes Radio, a streaming music service.
iTunes Radio will compete with the US-only Pandora, a streaming music service that tailors radio stations to your tastes using matching algorithms. Just like Pandora used to be, iTunes Radio will be be completely free, and supported by ads. Listeners who already subscribe to Apple’s music-library-in-the-cloud iTunes Match will get an ad-free experience. If a song you love starts playing it’ll be easy to buy the song right off iTunes. A nice touch is the ability to tune the radio stations you create: it’s possible to choose to hear more hits from the artists you like, or discover more obscure songs from other similar artists.
Of course, the streaming service will also be available across the board: it’s tightly integrated into the new Music app for iOS 7, it will work on Apple TV, and Macs can access it through, you guessed it, the iTunes application. Across those platforms your play history is stored and aggregated, as well as any tracks you mark as favourites or add to your wishlist.
In its form it won’t go up against Spotify, Deezer, et al., since those services have selective streaming. Where iTunes Radio only has radio stations themed by artist, Spotify and co will let you stream specific songs and albums, as well as create playlists with those – for a monthly fee.
iTunes Radio will be available in the US later this year, and Apple hasn’t clarified when it’ll roll out to international markets.