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Hidden iOS 6.1 icons fuel speculation over Apple music streaming service

Hidden iOS 6.1 icons fuel speculation over Apple music streaming service

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Rumors of a new music streaming service from Apple are being rekindled this week, thanks to an intriguing discovery on jailbroken iPads. According to 9 to 5 Mac, buried within the iPad music app on iOS 6.1 is a set of "radio button" files, marked with an icon similar to the radio logo that once appeared in iTunes for Mac. These buttons also contain the word "buy" in their filename, though it's worth noting that they only appear on jailbroken iPads, not iPhones.

Rumors have been swirling for months

The iPad music app currently has no radio functionality, though this discovery raises the possibility that Apple may be looking to incorporate a streaming service to compete with the likes of Pandora and Spotify. Rumors to that effect have been swirling for months. In September, the New York Times reported that the company was in talks with record labels about launching a Pandora-like service that would offer streams tailored to user tastes.

An October report from Bloomberg seemed to confirm these rumors, claiming that Apple's negotiations had gained steam, and that the company was looking to implement a service whereby users could purchase customized playlists. At the time, Bloomberg said the service could launch as early as Q1 of 2013, though it remains unclear whether negotiations over ad revenue — reportedly a major point of contention — have advanced since then.