It feels like the future – streaming music from a vast album of tunes located somewhere up in the cloud. But the Spotify Mobile app for iPhone is a reality now and it really does work. Download the app and sign up for the £10 a month Premium service and you've suddenly got a vast store of new and old music to draw on.
The Spotify Mobile app's greatest strength is its ability to keep your desktop and mobile playlists in sync and, most crucially, make songs available when WiFi or 3G just isn't available.
Making a song or playlist available in offline mode is as simple as selecting it and ticking that you'd like to listen to it offline. As long as you've got a WiFi or 3G connection, it'll start to cache the files.
The plus side is that caching songs won't take a huge amount of storage (each song takes up about 96kb) and you can store up to 300 albums. However, the process is quite slow and in our experience slightly buggy. Caching a 26-song playlist took 45 minutes for us via WiFi with one restart.
I like your…interface
The app's interface is extremely simple. The opening screen shows the playlists you've created – your own in black, collaborative ones in green and ones you don't own in grey.
There's a screen for searching for songs, artists or albums and tapping on cover art in the ‘now playing’ screen allows you to add that song to a playlist. That menu also includes the option to shuffle tracks or repeat. Skipping through songs is as easy as swiping across the album art on the ‘now playing’ screen. One minor niggle is the fact that volume controls are only present on this screen and nowhere else.
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The biggest problem with the Spotify Mobile app for iPhone is one that Spotify can't solve itself. The iPhone OS 3.0 doesn't allow most apps to work as background processes. If you close the Spotify app to check your emails or use any other app, your music will stop. On the plus side, the app remembers what you were listening to and restarts at that point.
That flaw is bound to be corrected with future version of the iPhone OS (the current reason for denying the ability is battery life). However, the Android version of the app would receive an extra star for its ability to work concurrently with other Android apps.