Steve Jobs

From iTunes to iPad, RAIN highlights how Jobs impacted web radio

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 12:00pm

Steve JobsYesterday Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away. It's difficult to overstate Jobs' impact on the world -- from PCs to film to digital music and beyond. Today RAIN looks back at just some of the ways Jobs impacted Internet radio.

1) iTunes (January 2001)
An "all-in-one digital music program," the now ubiquitous media program included (as it still does) an Internet radio section. It brought hundreds of streams under one roof and exposed them to a mainstream user base. 

2) AirPlay / AirTunes (first released June 2004)
"Listen to music from all over your house from your mobile device," said Steve Jobs when introducing AirPlay -- a wireless music system that lets users stream music from iTunes, iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches to special receivers around the house. AirPlay supports audio from just about any Internet radio app and can stream to any stereo receiver hooked up with an AirPort Express (in addition to Apple TVs and special third-party receivers).

3) iPhone (January 2007) + App Store (July 2008)
"Before the iPhone," writes Billboard, "custom Internet radio, subscription music...among others, had yet to find their legs and their lack of mobility inhibited their ability to grow." But together, the widely-popular iPhone and App Store created a "platform that freed web-based music services from the chains of the computer and let them enter the real world...mobile usage of Pandora, Slacker, Rhapsody and Shazam skyrocketed, bringing users a renewed enthusiasm for music."

The mainstream popularity of the iPhone exposed new consumers to customizable Internet radio. "The iPhone placed web and traditional radio head-to-head, in a face off that continues today. Without it, Pandora and Slacker may not have become household names and many listeners would've never felt the pleasure of personalized music recommendations." (Billboard's full article is here).

4) Apple TV (March 2007)
Though of course geared towards video content, Internet radio was also included in Apple TV, exposing hundreds of streams to yet more consumers.

5) iTunes Genius (September 2008)
Since the debut of the iPod, anyone could create what amounted to their own personal radio station by simply clicking "Shuffle." With iTunes Genius, Steve Jobs made iPods and iTunes a smarter DJ. Genius creates Pandora-like playlists of music similar to a specified song. It also analyzes your library and creates personal genre mixes based on what music you own. Pandora on the iPad

6) iPod Nano, 5th gen (September 2009)
The fifth-generation iPod Nano include, among many new features, an FM radio tuner. The sixth generation generation Nano also includes an FM tuner.

7) iPad (January 2010)
Originally heralded as "the oversized iPhone," Apple's much-hyped tablet device provided yet another platform for Internet radio apps...but with a twist. That looming 9.7 inch screen called for more than just album art and metadata, prompting many webcasters to introduce new visual features to their mobile apps.

How else do you think Steve Jobs affected Internet radio? Did we overlook a service or product? Let us know by commenting on the story below.

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