We’re probably not going to see an iPad, iPhone or other major hardware reveals from Apple at WWDC next week. We are going to see the new OS X and iOS. Now reports are coming in that we may also see the oft rumored Apple Radio.
The New York Times reports that Apple is aggressively pursuing licensing agreements with record labels so that it can reveal its radio service at WWDC next week. Apple has reportedly signed deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, but it has only secured recorded music rights with the former. It will have to negotiate a deal with UMG for music publishing rights as well as secure a deal with Sony Music.
We’re likely to see a reveal of Apple’s radio service at WWDC next week if it can secure all those rights in the following days. As for the reveal itself, it will probably be positioned as a response to Google Music All Access – the Spotify-like service that Google announced at Google I/O in May.
Unlike Google Music All Access and Spotify, however, Apple’s service would be more like Pandora. It will reportedly be a free, ad-supported music streaming service that caters to a user’s particular tastes. It will also reportedly tie into iTunes to encourage listeners to buy the music that they’re listening to.
Without a free, ad-supported option, Google Music All Access is limited in its appeal. Apple Radio may be free, but its lack of choice makes Spotify look all the better. It will be interesting then to see if the 67 million people who still prefer the online radio experience of Pandora make the move to Apple Radio when and if it’s announced next week.