References to a heretofore unknown "iTunes Subscription" service showed up in the iTunes desktop client on Friday, potentially revealing a few details of a rumored Apple-branded streaming music solution said to launch sometime this year.
The new section, seen in a screenshot above, was spotted on Friday by reader Doug, who was running the latest iTunes 188.8.131.52 version released on April 9. Specifically, on the Account Information page, which dynamically pulls in data from Apple's servers, management options for iTunes in the Cloud revealed an "iTunes Subscription" subsection.
While mere speculation, iTunes Subscription could refer to an unannounced iTunes streaming music service that allows users to download songs on up to five devices for offline play. This would be two devices more than the current limit imposed by Apple's Beats Music.
On the other hand, iTunes Subscription could simply be a case of misplaced or residual files spilling over to active iTunes account servers.
You can save songs for offline use and download purchases from iCloud on up to 5 devices.
You are currently using 0 devices.
You can only remove all devices once a year. For further assistance, contact Apple Care.
The text above could be the result of a simple bug in Apple's system, though a number of details don't seem to add up. For example, current iTunes Match subscriptions allow downloads on up to ten devices, limiting only the number of linked computers to five.
Device provisioning data for iTunes Subscription is seemingly generated independently from iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud. In the screenshot above, three devices are assigned to this user's Apple ID and none to iTunes Subscription, ruling out a potential mixup with existing iTunes services. Additionally, while the "Learn More" button next to iTunes Match leads to an informational webpage, the button labeled "Remove All Devices" next to iTunes Subscription is seemingly inactive.
Interestingly, the informational text is not present in a screenshot embedded in an official Apple Support Document regarding hidden iTunes purchases last updated on Thursday. Further, a test iTunes login session performed on Friday saw the Hidden Purchases section disappear altogether.
Rumors of an Apple branded subscription service first appeared last September. At the time, it was reported that Apple was looking to rebrand Beats Music as an iTunes product, affixing a lower monthly price tag to better compete with services like Spotify and Pandora.
Subsequent reports claimed the supposed product will lack a free tier so as not to interfere with a revamped iTunes Radio service headed up by D.J. Zane Lowe. According to the most recent rumors, Nine Inch Nails frontman and former Beats executive Trent Reznor is in charge of the for-pay streaming project.