Apple is considering including a standalone iTune Radio in iOS to boost the service’s usage, reports Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac citing sources briefed on the plans.
iTunes Radio first arrived as a feature within the Music app on iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices. It is suggested that this may have deterred growth of the service despite iTunes Radio being named the third most popular service of its kind in North America just six months after its launch.
As a separate app, iTunes Radio will be easily accessible by users from the home screen and will not be ‘hidden’ away as a tab within the Music app. Psychologically, this also positions iTunes Radio as a direct competitor with third-party services like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. Having iTunes Radio as a pre-installed standalone app would likely give Apple a huge advantage over any third-party offerings.
9to5Mac reports that the functionality of the iOS 8 iTunes Radio app would remain the same as its iOS 7 Music app counterpart – users will be able to browse their history, purchase streamed tracks, locate Featured Stations, create stations based on songs, artists, and albums, and manage stations as normal.
Gurman states that Apple previously considered releasing iTunes Radio as a standalone application in iOS 6, but problems striking record label deals meant the company ultimately pushed the launch back to iOS 7.
Stripping out functionality from the Music app to standalone apps is not unprecedented. Apple moved video playback for movies, TV shows and music videos to the Videos app in iOS 5. Similarly, Apple moved podcasts to a new Podcasts app in iOS 6. Apple also relocated playback of iTunes U content to its own app in 2012.
While Mark Gurman concedes that all considerations around an iTunes Radio app are still in the early stages and may not come to fruition this year, it would likely lead to increased advertisers looking to the service to promote their products due to increased usage.
Apple is also looking to expand its iTunes Radio service to new markets in the coming months, including countries like Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Would you like to see iTunes Radio become its own app in iOS 8? Are you looking forward to the service being available in your country? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet me: @adamoram.