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Apple said to be embedding Beats music service into iOS

Having the subscription music service preloaded onto devices, as the Financial Times says is planned, gives Apple a leg up over competitors such as Spotify.

Apple plans to load the subscription music service it obtained from its acquisition of Beats into the iOS operating system powering iPhones and iPads as soon as early next year, according to the Financial Times (subscription required).

Apple and Beats leadership team after the deal was announced. The music service part of the business could see higher visibility next year. Apple

By preloading the service -- which may not use the Beats name -- on its devices, Apple gains an edge in promoting its own offer over the competition, which includes Spotify and Rhapsody. A subscription music service would represent a new revenue stream and keeps customers locked into the Apple ecosystem.

A spokesman for Apple declined to comment on the report.

Given the high-profile nature of Apple's acquisition of Beats -- the $3 billion purchase was the biggest in the company's history -- a dedicated push to make Beats Music an integral part of Apple's hardware comes as no surprise. However, such an integration of Beats Music into the Apple mobile operating system would represent the Cupertino, Calif., company's final seal of approval on the subscription-streaming-music model.

Apple long shunned the format: Founder Steve Jobs referred to it as "bankrupt" and insisted "people want to own their music." But as the listening trends shift from purchasing music to renting through a service like Beats, the streaming format has become too important to ignore.

Attention, artists: Streaming music is the inescapable future. Embrace it

Apple could also use its TouchID fingerprint reader as an easy way to subscribe to the service, the FT said. The company has already enabled TouchID for mobile payments in stores and on select websites, as well as for in-app purchases.

While getting a service preloaded onto a device helps with consumer adoption, it doesn't guarantee success. Apple bundled iTunes Radio into its iTunes music app, but the service hasn't made a dent against Internet radio giant Pandora. And Beats Music itself only drew minimal consumer adoption as a standalone service sold exclusively through carrier partner AT&T.

Still, integrating such a high-profile service into iOS could be a good in-road for untapped consumers who represent potential first-time subscribers.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this report.