Apple's decision to remove the optical disc drive from its laptops is perhaps the clearest signal that the era of music CDs is largely over. But USB sticks and iTunes downloads have proven to be unwieldy and hard to manage, so it's no surprise that a new rumor claims Apple is working on a streaming music radio service.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Apple is in talks with record labels to green-light an advertiser-supported streaming radio service that would challenge similar services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio. The first major rumor surrounding such a service from Apple came from the Wall Street Journal back in September, but this latest report indicates that the deal talks between Apple and the music labels are very real and could be completed by November. Although iTunes remains one of Apple's more clunky offerings in terms of usability, it has nevertheless proven to be a boon for a music industry struggling crack the code of digital profits in a world of easy file sharing on the Internet.
Now, after years of proving that the music industry's gamble on iTunes paid off, Apple is primed as the leading candidate to take streaming music radio truly mainstream. The report claims the service would launch sometime in the first quarter of 2013.