Tucked away deep in Apple’s iOS 6.1 is a code that gives users a hint of the innovative radio service the company is rumored to be releasing soon.
The “hidden” radio button was recently discovered by some well-versed techno-geeks using an iPad that had freshly jailbroken. What did they find? A set of code references for “radio” and buttons similar to the feature seen on iTunes for Mac and PC users but not on any of the mobile devices. Another interesting discovery was the button that hinted at users being able to make purchases, presumably from iTunes via the new radio app. Graphics for the new radio feature include a logo of an antenna broadcasting a signal. File names for the hidden feature refer to a “radio buy button” and were apparently updated as recently as early January of this year.
Spotted by 9to5Mac, the buttons hint at Apple’s innovative app that will allow users to not only stream music such as is done on services already in play but also be closely tied to the iTunes library. While rumors have been bandied about for years, things heated up in 2012 when talks with recording levels picked up speed.
The discovery followed a high-profile jailbreak of the updated Apple OS recently. With the update, users were given a tool that allowed deeper system-level access that allowed third party apps to be installed along with being able to customize the look and feel of iOS and add new software.
When the first reports surfaced last year that Apple was supposedly developing a streaming radio service to compete with the likes of Pandora, the company was said to be in negotiations with content owners for licensing agreements. Rumors also have it that the new radio features will have virtual stations that allow the user to stream content through dedicated apps or a web browser. There is also the possibility that the icons seen in the iOS 6.1 music app would have the “iRadio” built into the updated operating system.
While it seems that Apple was pushing to launch the service last year, they were apparently held back by content provider negotiations. Evidently talks with Sony caused an unexpected last minute snag that put the brakes on the plan. With the plan moving forward once again, Apple is hoping to launch the new service by mid-2013. Whether that actually happens or not, Apple watchers are taking a big interest now that the discovery of the hidden codes and buttons has hit the web.