Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Separation: With iTunes Radio rapidly gaining traction after its launch last September, Apple (AAPL) is now considering a move that could increase its visibility and usage, 9to5Mac notes. According to sources, Apple has developed a standalone app for iTunes Radio, which is currently embedded within iTunes on Macs and as a tab inside the Music app in iOS 7. The standalone iTunes Radio app could be added to iOS 8, which will be released later this year. Giving iTunes Radio its own app would make the service stand out in iOS. A recent report found that iTunes Radio is now the third largest music streaming service in the U.S., behind only Pandora (P) and Clear Channel’s (CCO) iHeartRadio. A standalone iTunes Radio app in iOS 8 would be pre-installed. The app’s icon would feature a radio graphic fixed on a red background. In terms of functionality and user interface, the standalone app is said to be almost identical to the current version of iTunes Radio. Apple is also preparing to launch iTunes Radio in a variety of new markets, including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, later this year.
Third Party: Apple’s new CarPlay iOS automobile integration system could be coming to older vehicles, MacRumors notes. Sources tell the website that Pioneer Electronics — which makes aftermarket in-vehicle infotainment systems — is exploring adding CarPlay compatibility to its products. Apple debuted CarPlay at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this month. Apple is partnering with a wide range of global automakers — including General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Honda (HMC) — to implement the system in new vehicles. CarPlay allows iPhone-owners to interact with their smartphones through their vehicle’s entertainment and navigation systems, including voice control via Apple’s Siri voice assistant.
Done Deal: The San Francisco Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors have finally given Apple the all-clear to begin work on its new flagship store at Union Square, Re/Code notes. The city’s new 24,819-square-foot Apple Store will be roughly 45% larger than the city’s current flagship location. It is expected to employ 400 workers. Apple is expected to break ground on the project this summer. Apple proposed the new store last year, but encountered opposition over plans to remove a popular fountain designed by a local artist. Apple has since incorporated the fountain into the new store’s plans.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.