Spotify for iPhone looks great – if Apple allows it

I’m fascinated by the announcement of Spotify for iPhone.

Spotify lets you stream music from the company’s servers using a particularly fast and elegant user interface. The choice is huge, and of course shareable playlists are supported – I’ve had a lot of fun with these, using the desktop version.

Now here it comes for iPhone, with two big differences:

  1. You can synch playlists to the device for playing offline – essential on a mobile device.
  2. It’s not free; you have to be a premium user at £9.99 per month in the UK.

Although that is somewhat expensive, you get a lot for your money, including high quality 320kbs streaming on the desktop.

I noted a few further details from the comments to the above post:

  • An Android version is under development.
  • The iPhone app also works on the iPod Touch.
  • Offline works whether or not a connection is live. So if you pay for your data transfer, you could synch over wi-fi at home, then enjoy offline while travelling.

One thing that is not officially discussed is whether the company has verified with Apple that the application is acceptable. The post merely says:

… we’ve finally completed work on the Spotify app for the iPhone and sent it over to the nice people at Apple.

Now imagine you are Apple. The iPhone is in part built on the iPod, which was designed as a closed system using iTunes server and client to deliver music and apps to the device. Accepting an app that is an alternative to iTunes for music, and which to my mind represents the next generation of music delivery after downloading, is a threat to part of its business. It is not just that users might purchase less through iTunes. If users use Spotify rather than iTunes for their music, there are fewer barriers to moving from iPhone to Android or some other device (if Spotify chooses to support it). Reject the app then?

On the other hand, iPhone Spotify is for premium users only – not that many iPhone users will sign up. And if Apple rejects Spotify, there will be a very public cry of “monopoly” – whereas accepting it would be great PR.

Watching with interest – update soon.

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2 comments to Spotify for iPhone looks great – if Apple allows it

  • George

    “Monopoly” is what Apple does best. I don’t recall being presented with a list of Music providers when I first turned on the iPhone – just iTunes.

  • I love the argument that Apple are not subject to the same rules Microsoft are, because they are not big enough.

    Surely, regardless of size if one company is forced to not bundle something in with their OS because its “anti competitive” then nobody should be allowed to.

    Obviously Linux distros are different, as they bundle alternatives for most software so are anything but anti competitive anyway. But yet, I don’t see Apple being forced to offer alternative browsers in the EU and I doubt much will happen if they reject Spotify either.