The move would be part of Apple's strategy to drive adoption of its online music service, says 9to5Mac.
iTunes Radio could split off as its own separate app for iOS 8.
Apple is now testing its music service as a standalone app for the next version of iOS, according to 9to5Mac, which cited "sources briefed on the plans." The idea is that Apple could feature and market iTunes Radio more readily as its own app than as an option tucked away into the iOS Music app.
For iOS 8, iTunes Radio would be pre-installed and borrow its look and feel from the familiar Music app. iOS users could listen to Featured Stations, create and manage their own stations, and purchase songs and albums from iTunes. Apple was looking at iTunes Radio as a standalone app for iOS 6, 9to5Mac said. But complications over record label deals pushed the launch back to iOS 7.
Though this tidbit comes from unnamed sources, Apple certainly would want to consider new ways to boost the reach of iTunes Radio. The service is actually doing pretty well, at least according to a recent survey from Edison Research. A poll of 2,000 people in the US tagged iTunes Radio as the third most popular streaming radio service in the US.
Still, there's much more room for growth. Since its debut last September, iTunes Radio had won more than 20 million users by just a month later. But that number is but a drop in the bucket of more than 600 million iTunes users. And iTunes Radio faces competition from Pandora, Spotify, and similar services, all of which have their own dedicated apps in the App Store.
Apple also has a history of separating different features into their own apps. The iOS Music app once included podcasts and iTunes University content. Both of those have since been split off into their own unique apps. iTunes Music seems particular ripe for this type of move -- since it's currently nestled into the Music app, some people may not even know it exists.