An expected 2013 launch of an ‘iRadio’ service from Apple is likely to be well ahead of any TV product launch, according to Richard Greenfield, Media Analyst at BTIG Research.
Writing in the BTIG blog, Greenfield says that following the November 29 launch of iTunes 11 and a series of industry executive meetings, it is increasingly clear that Apple will launch an iRadio service in 2013. “While Pandora investors may have breathed a sigh of relief when iTunes 11 did not include an iRadio service, at launch, as some had speculated, we believe Apple is laying the groundwork for such a product in the first half of 2013,” he suggests.
According to Greenfield, iRadio appears to be a product that will materialise far sooner than some form of Apple Television product, which continues to be a work in progress. He notes an August 2012 BTIG analysis of the Apple TV situation highlighted three key issues holding the product back: Nationwide Coverage; Are Managed Services Legal? and TV Everywhere Usage restrictions. This followed an April 2012 blog post, where Greenfield said: “Apple’s pursuit of the television will take longer to come to fruition than investors are likely expecting.”
Greenfield says that while BTIG believes MVPD/ISPs such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable stand to benefit immensely from opening up their API to enable a premium priced Apple generated user interface, it believes the product could take at least another year to materialise, if not longer as a consequence of the aforementioned challenges.
The analyst says that in the meantime, Apple’s iTunes 11 has made the current generation ‘Radio’ product far more prominent, adding it to the horizontal feature bar that runs across the top of the screen.
“We continue to believe an iRadio product is critical for Apple to create a local advertising/commerce strategy, tying together Maps, Passbook, Siri and a new music service (which we are calling iRadio for now),” concludes Greenfield.