Well, it wasn’t called iRadio after all. Apple unveiled its new personal radio service tonight, and it’s called iTunes Radio.
It will launch first in the US as an ad-supported service this Autumn, offering more than 200 stations of streaming radio on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC and Apple TV. iTunes Match subscribers will get an ad-free version of the service.
Users will get personalised stations based on the music they “play and download”, as well as genre-based stations and others curated by Apple. The company is promising “first listen premieres from top selling artists” – a direct strike at Pandora’s recently-announced Pandora Premieres feature.
Songs will come with iTunes purchasing buttons to encourage iTunes Radio users to buy the songs they like. Meanwhile, Apple’s Siri voice-control technology will be deeply integrated.
Apple’s Eddy Cue described it as “an amazing new way to discover music” during Apple’s WWDC conference keynote today, while CEO Tim Cook said it’s “the absolute best way to discover new music” – note the message that will be hammered home between now and the service’s debut (and, indeed, beyond).
Attention will focus now on the nitty-gritty details – what kind of ads will run within iTunes Radio, for example, and how quickly it will roll out beyond Apple’s homeland. “We’re starting in the US, and we’ll be adding other countries over time,” said Cue.
We’ll have more analysis for you in the morning. For now, read our liveblog of the keynote, which has all the other announcements, including the new iOS 7 software.