While we still have no confirmation of Apple-branded streaming music service, a look underneath the hood of iOS 6.1 may provide some evidence.
Rumors of an Apple Internet radio service first sparked in September and resurfaced again months later after Apple was apparently having a difficult time negotiating how to split revenue with record labels. And last month, Beats Audio CEO Jimmy Iovine added more fuel to the rumor fire after revealing that he previously tried to convince Apple founder Steve Jobs to launch a music service years ago. And now, we have some unexplained files referencing radio in the latest version of Apple’s iOS.
Hidden within the new iOS update for iPad are files that reference a “radio button” that is similar to the button that was previously available on the desktop version of iTunes. The files were discovered by 9to5Mac after jailbreaking the device today.
The radio files also reference a “buy” button, which could indicate a service that users must use or authenticate before the radio functionality is enabled. Also worth noting is that the radio files are only found in the jailbroken version of iOS for iPad but not the iPhone or iPod Touch.
Since we don’t have confirmation from Apple, it’s impossible to know exactly what those files will do. However, it could indicate that an Apple Internet Radio service won’t be an exact carbon copy of Pandora, the largest Internet radio on the market. For instance, Apple may charge users for additional customized channels, play fewer audio ads, and only offer the service to iOS device owners.