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Tuesday, February 05, 2013, 10:21 am PT (01:21 pm ET)

'Radio Buy' buttons hidden in iOS 6.1 reveal Apple's anticipated Pandora killer

Files found within Apple's newly released iOS 6.1 refer to an Internet radio service the company is believed to be working on.

Radio


The graphics include a logo of an antenna broadcasting a signal, while the file names refer to a "radio buy button." The files were first discovered by graphic designer Austin Smith, who found them after using the newly released iOS 6.1 jailbreak and exploring the system files on an iPod touch.

The resource files found hidden in the iOS 6.1 Music application were last updated on Jan. 9, 2013.

Reports first surfaced last September claiming that Apple was working on a streaming radio service that would rival current offerings like Pandora. Apple was said to be in talks with content owners to license music for a similar Internet-based radio service.

Radio


Apple's plans are said to feature virtual stations that will stream music through a Web browser or dedicated apps. The inclusion of the icons in the iOS 6.1 Music application would suggest that Apple's so-called "iRadio" could be built in to the operating system.

Reports from last year suggested that Apple's iAd platform would be leveraged to offer users free access. But the inclusion of "buy" in the file names would imply that Apple could also be exploring a paid subscription option for some of its radio content.

While Apple was reportedly pushing to launch its streaming radio service last year, the iPhone maker was allegedly held back by negotiations with content providers. Specifically, it was said that talks with Sony hit a "last-minute snag," according to the New York Post.

Pandora's streaming radio service provides songs to users based on its own algorithms. But Apple's Internet radio plans reportedly include an "element of promotion," allowing record labels to push certain songs and potentially drive sales.

Bloomberg also revealed last October that Apple's Pandora competitor would allow users with iTunes accounts to "buy tracks as music streams or revisit what they've heard in auto-generated playlists." That report claimed Apple was hoping to launch its radio service by early 2013.