The iTunes-integrated radio player will be part of a broader, iOS7 update, according to information delivered by CEO Tim Cook in Cupertino.
A number of important features were confirmed during the announcement, including:
1. iTunes Radio will be available across all iOS devices, including Apple TV and iTunes on PCs. It is part of a far broader iOS7 platform release and concommitant iTunes update.
2. iTunes Radio will imitate Pandora’s artist-driven, personalized stations, but will not be bound by the same restrictions on skipping and consecutive plays (unclear is how liberal the service usage rules will be, however).
3. iTunes Radio will also mimic Pandora’s thumbs-up/thumbs-down functionality to fine tune those stations. Thumbs up translates into “Play more songs like this” while thumbs down is the opposite (not the exact language, but you get the idea).
4. There will also be more than 300 DJ-curated and genre-focused stations to choose from.
5. Audio ads will be inserted after every 15 minutes (or so) of listening, with video ads every hour.
6. Similar to Pandora One, Pandora’s premium tier, iTunes Match subscribers will enjoy ad-free listening.
7. iTunes Radio will feature integrated download buying opportunities for every song, linked to the existing iTunes account and stored credit card.
8. Furthermore, a history of all songs played will be neatly presented, with buy links next to each track.
9. iTunes Radio will be totally Siri-enabled. That includes voice-actived station selection, song identification, station narrowing (‘play more songs like this’) as well as basic play, skip, or pause functionality. Siri will also allow users to place songs into their Wish List for later purchase.
10. Exclusives. Just like iTunes proper, iTunes Radio will have pre-release exclusives weaved into station playlists. That will almost always beat Pandora.
11. All stations will be iCloud-enabled, as well as all Wish Lists. Stations can be stopped on one device, and easily resumed on another.
Other details, not specifically mentioned in the announcement:
12. Apple has directly-licensed major label content for this service, while mostly forcing less favorable terms upon independents. But all content could enjoy upside from paid purchases.
13. The current ‘iTunes Radio’ service, which contains streams to all sorts of web-based stations, is expected to be replaced (not confirmed).