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The beginning of any new year always brings with it a renewed sense of purpose in the technology industry, with excitable consumers impatiently waiting to see what their favorite companies will release into the wild. As always, we are expecting a lot of speculation and analysis to be lavished on Apple’s Cupertino campus once again this year, and although the obligatory iPhone and iPad refresh will come at some point, speculation surrounding Apple’s potential release of a streaming music type service is mounting.

Conjecture has been flying around for quite some time about the possibility of the company launching a physical TV set, a fire that was fuelled by Tim Cook’s admission during an NBC interview that technology in the living room was an area of "intense interest" for his company. Experts are suggesting that we won’t see the Apple branded TV set this year, or indeed the emergence of any other notable new product lines, but music lovers could find themselves subscribing to the new ‘iRadio’ service during 2013 as Apple thrash out licensing deals with music labels.

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We’ve been hearing for a while that Apple executives have been in intense negotiations with music label bosses in an attempt to come to a deal that allows the company to set-up a music streaming platform in a similar ilk to Pandora or Spotify. We have also heard contrasting reports of the current status of those negotiations with some corners suggesting the deal is dead in the water while others are filled with a fresh hope that the iTunes software will be updated during 2013 to offer users the option of having their streaming music needs handled by Apple.

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As part of his media predictions for the coming year, analyst Richard Greenfield has gone on record as being confident that the iRadio service is on the cards and should be shipped in the coming months. Greenfield is also suggesting that Apple will take the streaming service one step further by allowing users to not only purchase and stream music but also purchase concert and gig tickets through partnerships with the likes of TicketMaster.

The recent overhaul to iTunes seems to now be the perfect platform to allow Apple to offer a service of this type, and if anything does happen, then it’s likely iOS users will see a change to the stock iOS app on their device. As popular as the service would undoubtedly be, it all seems to hinge on whether or not Apple and the record labels can come to an agreement that benefits all parties.

(via Macworld)

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