Could iTunes 11 Launch Lead To Apple's Streaming Radio Service?
December 3, 2012

Last week, Apple released its newest software upgrade to iTunes, debuting the revamped iTunes 11 player. Now, analysts at BTIG Research predict that the upgraded software is the first step in the launch of Apple's long-awaited streaming music service.

BTIG notes that "Radio" is now an option on the new iTunes 11 horizontal bar. The button currently sends users towards iTunes' extensive directory of online radio stations, however the firm says that option "is unappealing to most consumers today, we believe the radio service can easily be updated."

CNet notes that just last month, BTIG wrote that the probably "iRadio" service will "be vastly superior to Pandora because Apple is unwilling to settle for compulsory music licenses. Instead, expect iRadio to seek direct deals with labels at premium rates enabling iRadio to offer a superior feature set including a global solution (sites like Pandora are limited to the U.S.), increased skips (compulsory licenses limit skips to six/hour) and maybe most importantly, extended caching so that wireless dead-zones are no longer a problem whether driving, flying or underground."

In September, Apple was rumored to debut its "iRadio" service when it launched the iPhone 5. However, it was delayed, reportedly due to licensing negotiations with Sony/ATV Publishing.

BTIG predicts Apple will launch "iRadio" some time in the first half of 2013.

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Jon Zellner
EVP/Programming Operations

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