Apple may be on a quest to rid its App Store of apps that allow you to download music from third-party file-sharing sites.
A search at the App Store for "music download" apps now surfaces fewer results than it did in the past, according to the folks at MacRumors. Specifically, the first few results now seen in a search focus more on streaming than downloading. Previously, the same search would show more apps that could download music from such sites as Soundcloud and YouTube.
My own search for "music download" apps still came up with a couple of music download apps but not nearly as many as the number spotted in MacRumors' screenshot of a previous search.
Clamping down on certain apps or certain types of apps isn't an unusual move for Apple. The company maintains a strict set of guidelines for developers. Sometimes certain apps are approved even though they skirt past the rules, prompting Apple to clean house. Apple may also bar certain apps that infringe too much on its own built-in iOS territory. That could be the case here if the company is trying to push its own iTunes Radio as a service and as a potential separate app down the road. Apple may also have more music tricks up its sleeve as a result of its $3 billion purchase of Beats.
Other reasons for the removal of the apps as suggested by MacRumors include Apple's attempt to clean up the App Store ahead of iOS 8 and the need to kill specific apps that could lead to music piracy. Some developers report that Apple has asked them to remove certain download capabilities from their audio apps.
CNET contacted Apple for comment and will update the story with any further information.