Why This Feature Could Make Apple's iTunes Radio Less Convenient Than Pandora

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a new patent for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) on Thursday called "Playlist Configuration and Preview." The patent application highlights advanced features that could make Apple's future iTunes Radio service more customizable than Pandora (NYSE: P  ) and other streaming-music products in the space. However, these features are far less convenient for users compared to those currently offered by Pandora. This could be a problem for Apple as it attempts to poach listeners from rival online music services.

Easy does it
Pandora didn't capture the hearts of more than 70-million active monthly users by accident. People love online streaming music service because it offers a simple push-and-play way to listen to personalized radio stations. Yet, a new offering from Apple promises to do that and much more. Earlier this month, Apple unveiled its upcoming iTunes Radio service, which, similar to Pandora, will come in a free-to-use ad-supported version, as well as an ad-free version for paying subscribers.

The tech giant's new PCP patent includes myriad ways for users to better customize their streaming playlists. While Pandora allows listeners to rate songs with a thumbs up or down, Apple's iTunes Radio may allow users to specify what they do or don't like about a song selection. This feature would mean song lineups more attuned to your liking. However, this level of customization also demands more effort by the user, which could be daunting for those listeners who prefer the hassle-free interface offered by Pandora.

One of the more notable features shown in Apple's PCP patent include a way to view and modify upcoming songs in your queue -- a quality Pandora lacks. Moreover, users can share their playlists with other users, while also comparing an individual song's specific characteristics and metadata. This may be overcomplicating music streaming for people craving easy listening.

Still, there's no guarantee that the features outlined in this patent will make it into Apple's unreleased iTunes Radio service. Not all patent innovations translate into finished products. Not to mention, Apple filed the "Playlist Configuration and Preview" patent back in 2011. Until Apple officially releases iTunes Radio, listeners will have to make do with offerings that are more simple-minded from Pandora and others like it.

It's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped and molded by just a handful of companies. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.


Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 11:11 PM, nlosborne wrote:

    Oh, my. It sounds as if the author of this article is literally "bashing" Apple for out-innovating the competition in something! They have new features that overall should make the iTunes Radio a more pleasurable experience than pandora… and still somebody has to say something negative. If Apple announced every iTunes song for free, no purchase required, I think somebody would say it is too complicated, or whatever-------------

  • Report this Comment On June 27, 2013, at 11:47 PM, marv08 wrote:

    "Pandora didn't capture the hearts of more than 70-million active monthly users by accident."

    Yes. And Apple did convince 575 million iTunes users by being overly complicated and unusable...

    Nothing in this patent says that people HAVE to use these additional features. So, what is the point of this article?

Add your comment.

DocumentId: 2514477, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 7/26/2014 12:02:36 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement