On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Apple will make a major move to push its newly acquired Beats Music app to all iOS users starting "early next year." Citing "people familiar with the situation," the report (subscription required) claims the Beats Music subscription service will become a pre-installed app in an iOS update, and such a software update could happen "as early as March" of next year.
If true, this move would be the first major Apple-branded action involving Beats, Inc. after acquiring both its hardware and software divisions in a $3 billion deal this past May. A forced app install will not replace or remove existing iTunes and iTunes Radio services, but the report didn't clarify whether iOS users would be given any promotional offer to sample the paid Beats service as new users.
Prior reports asserted that "Beats Music" as a distinct music-subscription service in name would soon end and that Apple would roll such a paid streaming service into the iTunes app. However, the FT report clarified that Beats' service would persist, only "rebranded under the iTunes label." Additionally, the FT pointed out that this move echoed streaming-music rival Spotify's efforts to have its own app pre-installed on smartphones made by HTC.
Apple declined to comment to the FT; we have reached out to Apple with questions about the report and will update this post with any response.