In a rather unexpected move, Apple is set to launch its own music streaming service. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is already in talks about licensing music for this purpose.
Apple will apparently launch a custom radio station service similar to the US-only Pandora or the UK's own Last.fm. This involves first selecting a favoured artist, with the service then forming a customised playlist incorporating the music of related or similar artists.
Such an idea comes as something of a surprise. Steve Jobs was always rather dismissive of such streaming services, preferring to sell music to people outright (which he did rather well at, don't you think?). Of course, he was also dismissive of smaller tablets and bigger iPhones, and both of those look set to become reality.
It's also a bit of a surprise because none of the established personal radio station services make a lot of money. It's believed that Apple's service will be free, and will receive funds through Apple's iAd advertising platform.
The report claims that Apple's version of the custom radio station concept will be more advanced than the aformentioned rival efforts. Apparently it's arguing hard for more favourable terms that would allow for more frequent repeat plays for songs and more interactivity and control on the user's part.
Apple's extra clout in the music industry should make the difference in securing more favourable licensing terms. Still, the move ultimately sounds more like Apple adding another bullet point to those iPhone and iPad feature lists in a bid to keep ahead of its rivals.