Mike Isaac

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Apple Debuts iTunes Radio, Beefs Up Services

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At WWDC today, Apple debuted iTunes Radio, the company’s music service that offers features similar to the predominant Web radio service on the market, Pandora.

Just like Pandora, users can create radio stations based on songs they’re listening to. And, yes, iTunes Radio lets you share those stations you create with friends. You’re also able to flip through curated channels picked by the dudes at Apple, and even select a channel based on what’s trending on Twitter.

Apple has its work cut out to take down Pandora, which currently holds 70 percent of Internet radio marketshare among the Top 20 Internet radio stations in the U.S., according to Pandora. And it’s a cross-platform app, which means reaching all sorts of users, not just the Apple devotees.

That’s not even including Amazon, Google’s new All Access music service and the myriad other competitors in the space.

But Apple still has a broad customer base who have bought millions of its products. And iTunes radio will be built into all Apple software, including iOS, OS X and Apple TV. So there’s your instant install base, right off the bat.

iTunes Radio comes ad-free if you’re an iTunes Match subscriber, Apple’s existing cloud-based music service which lets users incorporate their previously purchased tracks into their cloud-based library. Apple will kick off iRadio starting first in the U.S., with plans to add more countries over time.

Along with the new Radio service, Apple introduced a series of improvements to other iOS apps, like Siri — which will come with a new interface and feature Twitter integration and now routes to Bing for search queries — and debuted iOS in the Car, which, just like it says, brings many iOS applications to the screen of your vehicle (think “music and Siri access from the driver’s seat”).

There’s also FaceTime audio, which lets users make high-quality audio calls over Wi-Fi, and is integrated with China’s Tencent Weibo.

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