The release of a new smartphone operating system has sure become more of a cultural event than anyone could have ever imagined five or 10 years ago. The release of the latest iOS from Apple also brings a new feature to the iPhone and other Apple devices — iTunes Radio.
It is essentially a music-streaming service along the lines of Pandora and Spotify, but it’s organized by broad, curated channels more akin to SiriusXM with optional searches.
After some initial Cars.com testing of iTunes Radio, satellite radio should indeed be worried, while music aficionados may need some convincing.
iTunes Radio sits alongside a device’s downloaded music. It appears as a new option to playing those tracks via playlists, artists, songs and albums. However, once you click the icon you’re a world away from how you listen to those tracks.
A home page allows you to go straight to featured stations or add your own. There are dozens of these pre-populated channels to choose from, including eight just for smooth jazz.
These stations can vary broadly in what they play, and I found many to feature artists I wouldn’t necessarily associate with the channel name. Classic Rock seemed to offer the most logical bands per genre of those I tested with Modern Rock not being as accurate — to my mind. You can also select how you want the station to deliver songs, prioritizing “hits,” “variety” or “discovery.” I didn’t get a thorough enough test to prove these three out, but it’s a nice option to have if you’re not a fan of mainstream artists of any genre.