Rumors of an Apple streaming music service first came to light just after the iPhone 5 launched in September 2012. At the time, we were hearing that the service was close to being integrated into the new handset but negotiations with Sony/ATV fell apart at the last minute and delayed the entire process.
Those rumblings have since been reignited after a set of radio button files were recently discovered within the iPad music app on iOS 6.1, according to 9 to 5 Mac. The icons look similar to the logo that was once used in iTunes for Mac and interestingly enough, have the word “buy” in the file name. The latter suggests that Apple is planning to allow users to purchase songs from within the app.
The publication points out that the icons are only found on the iPad, not the iPhone. Limiting a service like this to the iPad doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense as there are a lot more phones in the hands of consumers than tablets at this point. Perhaps Apple wants to unveil the product on a smaller platform to test reliability and usage before bringing it to the iPhone. Or maybe the files were accidentally left behind during internal testing.
Such a service would compete with the likes of Pandora and Spotify, granted Apple is able to secure enough relevant deals with music labels. Bloomberg noted late last year that the service could launch as early as Q1 of 2013 – or within the next two months.