Apple apparently wants to make it easier for iPhone and iPad users to identify the songs they hear, so the company is reportedly planning on including Shazam's song identification technology in iOS 8. Including Shazam as a system-level feature would make it easier to answer those "what song is playing" questions, but could put a crimp in sales of competing apps.
Sources say Shazam will be built into iOS 8
There isn't any official word from Apple on what to expect in iOS 8, but it's a pretty safe bet we'll get some detail this June during the company's annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Until then, details are leaking out from anonymous sources, like those speaking with Bloomberg.
Shazam uses your iPhone or iPad's built-in microphone to listen to whatever songs are playing, and then identifies them for you. It also includes links to the iTunes Store in case you want to buy the song you're listening to, can share the songs you hear on social networks, shows song lyrics, and more.
Bundling Shazam's technology in iOS 8 would fit well with Apple's strong position in the music market. The company already controls a large part of digital music sales through the iTunes Store, and now is working on making a dent in the streaming music market with iTunes Radio, making easy built-in song identification a natural fit.
Apple doesn't necessarily need built-in song identification support in iOS because apps like Shazam and Sound Hound are already available, but that doesn't mean the company shouldn't include the feature as a part of the iPhone's operating system. It's yet another way to drive customers to Apple's online music store.
Shazam will be integrated in iOS 8 just as Facebook and Twitter are in iOS 7, which will give any app that wants to hook into the feature a way to do so without requiring a jump over to the Shazam app. That, in turn, will most likely make Shazam the defacto standard for song identification.
Apple and Shazam aren't talking about the report, which isn't too surprising. Apple likes to hold its cards close to its chest, and its partners typically fall in line and do the same. Assuming Apple is building Shazam into iOS 8, there's a good chance we'll learn about it at WWDC. Until then, Shazam's competitors will have to wait and wonder if their competition is going to be a lot harder.