Apple rather publicly purchased Beats Music early last year, but since then, the company hasn't really done much with Beats.
While nothing has been done so far, it is likely that Apple will rebrand Beats in the very near future, with latest speculation suggesting that Apple will make an announcement at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). So, what exactly should we expect from an Apple-Beats combo?
It is largely expected that Beats will be rolled into Apple's iTunes Radio, or at least into some form of iTunes product. This will be Apple's entrance into the subscription-based music streaming services to rival the likes of Spotify and Google Play Music. While Apple has been running iTunes Radio in the past, iTunes Radio has certainly not been as successful as Apple would have liked.
It was reported that Apple wanted to offer a free music streaming service, but Apple's talks with record labels have resulted in Apple offering a chance to get "behind a paywall." What this means is that beyond the trial period of the service, Apple will charge users to stream music, just like Beats has been doing so far.
Despite this, Apple will likely aim to offer a cheaper service than its competitors have been offering to date. The standard cost of an all-inclusive music streaming service seems to be around $9.99 a month.
One thing that will be vital for Apple as it attempts to regain its influence in the digital music industry is cross-platform support. What this means is that Apple will need to offer software for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and perhaps even Android. Of course, Apple has done this in the past (excluding Android) with its iTunes music service, but the company will really need to ramp this support up. It would also be beneficial for the company to offer a web-based music player, as Beats has done before.
Cross-platform support is largely expected because of what Apple did with iWork, offering users web-based solutions regardless of their operating system through the iCloud website. While Apple is both a hardware and a software company, it is unlikely that Apple will want to alienate users who do not use Apple hardware products. At its core, Apple is still a software company. As Steve Jobs once said, it may wrap its software in a nice box, but it is still software at its core.
The actual launch of the new service is unlikely to happen at the Apple event, but it is tipped to take place either as part of iOS 8.4 or as part of iOS 9.