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Is iTunes Radio a ‘Pandora Killer?’

Connected car can be embedded solution, or tethered smartphone

Is the launch of Apple’s iTunes Radio a “Pandora Killer” as some in media predict?

Asked to comment on the Apple product at the RAIN Summit in Orlando, Fla., Pandora’s Geoff Snyder said, “We’re aware of what they’re doing.” No stranger to competition, the company remains focused, according to Snyder. “We’re not going to change course.”

Slacker’s Steve Cotter said, “We see it as a validation of what we knew six to eight years ago when this company started.” The best content’s “going to win,” predicts TuneIn’s Kevin Straley.

The Apple launch, slated for today, came during a discussion of the connected car.

Automakers and their suppliers are creating solutions for consumers to access their entertainment in the dashboard the way they want to. That can be by connecting their phone to the dashboard, or with an embedded solution, according to automotive and receiver executives. 

Pioneer’s Ted Cardenas says the company takes tech for the vehicle, whether traditional broadcast, satellite radio, HD Radio or Internet radio, and develops a hardware or software interface. With its aftermarket AppRadio service, Pioneer brings Pandora into the vehicle, too.

Typically when someone has connected their phone to the vehicle the radio is displaying metadata and the “skip track,” “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” controls are transferred to the dash as well, as opposed to someone using the aux jack, said Pandora’s Snyder.

Ford is in the process of launching its Ford AppLink in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, according to the automaker’s Scott Burnell. AppLink is the ability to extend command and control of an app running on a mobile device to the “human interface” of the vehicle. With AppLink, drivers can take their habits they already use outside of the vehicle and extend those to the car “in a safer way,” he said.

Pioneer’s AppRadio comes in two versions: with and without a CD player. However, noting that it’s been more than 20 years since CDs were introduced and cassette products are still being made, “the compact disc isn’t going away anytime soon,” predicted Cardenas.