Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Debut: Apple (AAPL) has begun contacting advertisers about its new ad-supported Internet radio service, Reuters notes. The company plans to introduce the service at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which kicks off next week in San Francisco. iRadio is reportedly modeled after Pandora‘s (P) Internet radio service and will feature both banner advertising and audio ads. Apple will sell advertising on the service through its iAd mobile network. Reports indicated that Apple was scrambling to negotiate music licensing deals with the world’s three largest record labels, but had encountered some trouble securing agreements due to higher fee demands by the labels. In recent weeks, failure to secure deals with all three labels threatened to prevent the company from launching iRadio at the WWDC. Apple is reported to have come to agreements with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Negotiations with Sony‘s (SNE) Sony Music Group are said to be continuing. Apple’s iRadio is expected to be free for listeners, depending on advertising to generate revenue. Competing services from Spotify and Google (GOOG) are subscription-based.
Pressure: Executives from four smartphone makers — Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft (MSFT) — will meet with New York’s Attorney General and San Francisco’s District Attorney in New York City next week, ABC News notes. The companies will be asked to help law enforcement agencies combat a rising wave of mobile device thefts by developing and implementing new technology to track and deactivate stolen smartphones. The Federal Communication Commission says that 1.6 million people were the victims of smartphone thefts last year. Thefts of Apple products have become so common that police have dubbed the phenomena “Apple-picking.” A number of smartphones — including the iPhone — come with tracking technology, but public officials say it isn’t enough.
Change: People who crack the screens of their iPhone 5s can have them repaired at Apple Stores for $149, CNN notes. Under a prior policy, iPhone’s with damaged screens had to be mailed back to Apple for repairs. Owners who had not purchased AppleCare insurance had to pay $229 to get their screens replaced and had to wait until the phones were mailed back to them. Apple has recently changed its repair and service policies, shifting repair services to its Apple Stores and ending a practice of simply replacing damaged phones. The changes are expected to save $1 billion annually.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.