Apple’s iTunes Radio music streaming service recently blew past Spotify to become the third most popular option in America, but a new report suggests iTunes Radio could see an even bigger push later this year with the release of iOS 8. According to 9to5Mac the company is currently testing a stand-alone iTunes Radio app that would come pre-installed on future iPhones.
Despite making significant gains since launching last year, iTunes Radio still trails behind Pandora, claiming just 8 percent of the U.S. market at around 21 million users compared to Pandora’s 70 million active listeners. Putting the app front and center with iOS 8 could help get more people using the service while also drawing in more advertisers. Apple is also promoting iTunes Radio with a recent Apple TV update that lets you listen on your TV using your iOS device as a remote.
The move also fits in with Apple’s history of turning tabs within its Music app into their own separate applications. Videos were removed from the app, then called the iPod app, with the release of iOS 5. A year later iOS 6 saw the launch of a separate Podcast app. Apple also announced a stand-alone iTunes University app in 2012.
The stand-alone iTunes Radio app would reportedly be identical to the current service. 9to5Mac notes that the move is still being debated and might not make it into the final version of iOS 8 later this year. It seems like a smart and simple update though, and we’d be surprised to see Apple drop the ball on this one.