BTIG Research came to the conclusion that Apple has been working on a new service that aims to take on Pandora and Spotify following interviews with industry executives and last week’s launch of iTunes 11.
iTunes 11 saw the introduction of a new dedicated Radio button, which hints that Apple is working on improving its radio offerings. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said: “Apple’s iTunes 11 has made the current generation “Radio” product far more prominent, adding it to the horizontal feature bar that runs across the top of the screen.”
“While the service underlying that Radio button is unappealing to most consumers today, we believe the radio service can easily be updated to incorporate the functionality we envisioned in our October blog post,” Greenfield continued. “We continue to believe an iRadio product is critical for Apple to create a local advertising/commerce strategy, tying together Maps, Passbook, Siri and a new music service (which we are calling iRadio for now.)”
In the October blog post, BTIG research wrote: “We expect Apple’s iRadio to 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 US), increased skips (compulsory licenses limit skips to six per hour) and maybe most importantly, extended caching so that wireless dead-zones are no longer a problem whether driving, flying, or underground.”
In 2009, Apple confirmed its acquisition of streaming music site Lala, which it later shut down, fuelling speculation that the company is planning to use the Lala platform to launch its own service.
It was rumoured that Apple would introduce its radio service alongside the iPhone 5 and iTunes 11 at its 12 September special event. But, reports suggest that Apple was forced to delay iRadio’s debut following problems with the negotiations with Sony/ATV.