It is now commen knowledge that Apple is negotiating with major music labels to secure rights to stream their music in a forthcoming subscription service similar to Spotify and Pandora. And we know Apple has signed deals with two major labels. But what has been uncertain is when Apple would announce this, and also whether Apple would actually introduce this service given that it hasn't been able to work out a deal with two other major labels. However, Reuters reported today that Apple will be announcing the new service next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference. This is good news. A new product or service from Apple is always welcome.
Apparently the service will let you listen to your favorite music, similar to Spotify, but will be free and ad-supported, according to some sources. Also, it's been rumored that the service will allow you to set up your own stations or channels in the same fashion as Pandora.
The Reuters report says the service will launch later this year. It's hard to imagine what compelling features Apple's service will have, given that the services already out there are quite popular. But Apple usually knows how to do things right. Plus, if it integrates it into iOS 7 in some way, that will give the company an immediate advantage in the market, due to its larger user base.
Apple's announcements will come at an opening event beginning 10 a.m. Monday. Apparently, the event is planned to be two hours, so they must have a lot to announce. In addition to iRadio and iOS 7, Apple is expected to introduce a number of new Macs, including the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac. And they're expected to introduce Mac OS 10.9.
[Update] The rumor is now afloat that Apple has signed a deal with the other major labels, so it seems pretty certain that this new service will be announced on Monday.