Apple already encourages new iPhone owners to install Beats Music along with its other apps like Pages, GarageBand, and iMovie. But it sounds like there are plans to take that one step further and give Beats (or a rebranded version of the music service) a permanent spot on the iOS home screen. The Financial Times is reporting that Apple will add Beats Music to the core iOS operating system with an update due "early next year." Such a move would remove an extra step for consumers and may help boost Beats Music's piddly subscriber numbers.
Since launching in January, Beats has largely failed to threaten Spotify and other music streaming competitors. But Apple isn't about to give up: when his company purchased Beats for $3 billion in May, Tim Cook said that the streaming app was a major factor in Apple's decision. Combined with iTunes and iTunes Radio, Beats Music gives Apple customers the option of listening to music any way they prefer; via free, Pandora-like "radio" stations, on-demand subscription, or traditional downloads of songs or entire albums. Financial Times hints that Beats Music may undergo a rebrand along with the change, which backs up similar reports from recent months.
The change from optional download to bundled app wouldn't be unusual coming from Apple. It's made the same move for iBooks and Podcasts, both of which were previously available as App Store downloads. Now each is an unremovable system app that ships with every new iPhone — and Apple is selling plenty of iPhones. Putting Beats Music into the hands of each of those customers makes total sense, and if you're a non-subscriber, you can always just hide the app away in a folder somewhere. Right next to Compass, Game Center, Newsstand, and Tips.