The iRadio project was originally slated for an early 2013 release, several media reports in late-2012 dropped. However, Apple is playing hardball with music labels over pricing, causing the delay. It wants an industry-low 6 cents per 100 songs streamed by users, where Pandora pays 12 cents per 100 songs.
In its new report, The Verge says significant progress has been made with signing Universal and Warner to provide a large list of music. The “iRadio is coming. There’s no doubt about it anymore”, one source told the publication. Apple is pushing hard for a summertime launch.
Apple will be taking on Pandora, which leads the internet streaming service scene, followed by Spotify, RDIO, Last.fm and others. Given Apple's reach into the mobile market, such a service could seriously hurt other competitors' market share. But if recent reports are to believed, Google and Amazon also want to hop in to the game, which could make for an interesting playing field.
Previous reports have said iRadio will be offered for free, as Apple plans to use its iAds advertising platform for revenue. Several references have already been found in internal iOS code, adding to the rumours.
If The Verge's report is to be believed, a WWDC announcement in June would make the most sense. But given Apple's history, things are always destined to change.