Spotify for iPad, released this morning, is a beautiful app. It’s solid, providing fast and reliable access to Spotify’s huge catalogue of songs and artists, and it presents content inside a great-looking package that, as I’ve already written, reminds me of Reeder’s sepia tones.
What follows is a brief examination of the app’s interface and functionalities. I have been using Rdio to completely fill my music listening needs for the past six months, but I was looking forward to trying Spotify for iPad to give it a fair shot. (more…)
After years of speculations and subtle hints, music streaming service Spotify is today unveiling its official app for the iPad. The Next Web has the first details on the app; you can find Spotify for iPad on the App Store.
Fully optimized for the Retina display and taking advantage of Apple’s AirPlay technology to stream audio to other sources, the official Spotify app has been completely re-imagined to use the device’s larger screen, and give users more space to browse music, access their playlists, and inbox. The app uses a Twitter-like panel navigation to load playlists and artists, with music controls available at the bottom alongside an option to enlarge the album view. Relying on linen and sepia tones reminiscent of apps like Reeder, Spotify for iPad doesn’t simply look like a bigger version of its iPhone version — something the company is even joking about in the promo video. For instance, the larger screen has allowed Spotify to introduce features like instant, unified search for artists, albums, and playlists, or a full-screen cover art view that users can swipe on to change songs.
Spotify for iPad requires a Premium subscription. We will update this post with more information and our first impressions during the day, as the app is propagating now in iTunes. In the meantime, you can find more screenshots and a video after the break.
Update: Here’s our look at Spotify for iPad.
Back in July Nuance released a new iOS app, Dragon Go!, that we described as combining “Nuance’s top-notch voice recognition with the intelligence to do what is actually being said”. It will listen to a question or statement you make and then using the number of services it supports (from Yelp to Twitter to the iPod app), complete the task that you invoked.
Today Nuance has released an update to Dragon Go! that, in a sense, upgrades its intelligence that we described. It has improved it’s intelligence by adding support for a number of new services – meaning it can now understand more commands and actually do more things. It has added support for media services Netflix and Spotify, search engines Wolfram|Alpha and Ask.com as well as Google+.
It has also improved the Yelp experience from within the app by allowing users to access a map from within the Yelp tab. You can grab the update now, or if you haven’t yet tried Dragon Go! you can download it for free on the App Store.
Popular music streaming service Spotify, after much speculation and rumors, is launching today in the United States with an invite-system (for those who signed up last week) and subscriptions to access the various functionalities offered by the European company. Unlike the iTunes Store, or Amazon’s MP3 Store, Spotify allows you to stream a catalog of songs you don’t own, and in spite of the latest version introducing a purchase option, the focus of the service clearly is on streaming, rather than downloading. You can create playlists online, share them with your friends, mark songs as favorite, and browse the latest releases from Spotify, which thanks to support of major music labels happen to be the same of other marketplaces like iTunes. Spotify runs on a variety of platforms including the Mac, and you can read more about the desktop client’s features in our previous coverage.
Whilst Spotify has announced that the service will be open for business today in the US starting at 8 AM ET, the iPhone app, previously available exclusively in some European countries, is now available in the US App Store as well. The app is free, it’s got no iPad counterpart yet, but it lets you stream all the songs you have in your Spotify library, provided you subscribe to Premium plan ($9.99 per month) that gives you access to ad-free music with offline caching capabilities and mobile app support. (more…)
Spotify, the European music streaming service that has attracted millions of paying subscribers in the past two years, is finally launching in the United States, with some saying the big opening could happen as early as next week. For those not familiar with Spotify, the concept is very simple: instead of owning music, you stream it from the company’s servers that host a huge catalogue of songs from both major and less-known labels. You can build playlists, mark items as favorite, and pay to get unlimited access, higher quality bitrates, mobile apps and caching options for offline access. Whereas Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will scan songs you already own to mirror them online, Spotify lets you create your own online library of songs you don’t own (though a “buy” option has been recently introduced), but that you can stream at any time. It’s similar to other services like Rdio and MOG, but the company never managed to close a deal with US music labels and get the green light for launching its service until last week.
I’ve been a Spotify user for two years, and it’s completely revolutionized the way I listen to music. I still enjoy buying some music from iTunes, but Spotify’s biggest advantage over traditional marketplaces is that I can pay a monthly fee (or buy yearly access altogether with a gift card) to listen to just about anything I want, from any device. Spotify has a beautiful Mac client and an iPhone app that’s continually updated with new features; however, the company still hasn’t revealed its plans about an iPad app that would be much welcome one year after the iPad came out. (more…)
Those who have been looking for ways to control the Spotify application for Mac using third-party utilities, keyboard shortcuts and desktop music controllers will soon be able to do just that thanks to Spotify’s latest update on OS X. Upgraded to version 0.5.1 (version 0.5 brought a new UI as well as iPod sync and improved store experience), Spotify for Mac now comes with basic AppleScript support, meaning playback can be controlled externally without using the official app.
A new version of the Spotify client is out, version 0.5.1. On the Mac, this version contains a basic AppleScript dictionary for getting the current track and controlling playback. You will be auto-updated to version 0.5.1 of the client over the coming days, but you can download the update manually from www.spotify.com/download if you can’t wait.
This is an experimental feature at the moment, which means it may change or disappear in a future version depending on how feedback on the feature goes.
For those users who don’t want to manually fiddle with AppleScript and writing code, this also means other developers will take care of updating their apps to include Spotify integration. The first three big names posted on the Spotify blog are exactly what I’ve been personally looking forward to: Bowtie, the Iconfactory’s Take Five for Mac and Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil will soon support Spotify playback and (hopefully) album artwork display. Take Five (our review) and Airfoil (our review) are the two apps I’ll make sure to test right away as they enable Spotify controls, considering how much I use them on a daily basis to un-pause music from iTunes and send audio around the house from any Mac app.
On a side note, a few weeks ago the Spotify team also said on the company’s Twitter account that they’re actively developing an iPad app, which should be available soon.
According to an article by Eliot Van Buskirk at Evolver.fm (republished by Gizmodo), US record labels are waiting for Apple’s rumored iCloud music service to launch publicly before closing the remaining deals that are preventing Spotify, a popular music streaming service, from launching in the United States. Several rumors claimed Apple is working on an online interface for iTunes to allow users to upload and stream their music collections from the cloud, with a report from last night suggesting Apple will adopt a system similar to Lala (which they acquired last year) to scan a user’s library and mirror songs to their servers, also offering subscriptions and possibility to get access to higher-quality versions of the same songs.
We heard an interesting theory the other day from a well-connected source: Record labels accustomed to receiving big checks from Apple want to give Steve Jobs and company a crack at offering a music subscription service to Americans before Spotify enters the ring, so they’ve been dragging their feet (i.e. demanding too-high payments) in their negotiations with Spotify, preventing it from launching here until after Apple’s cloud music service does.
Spotify has long been rumored to be getting ready for a US launch, though the European company never managed to ink the final deals with the Universal Music Group and Warner Music group. It was previously reported that Spotify had signed papers with Sony Music and EMI for a US launch, alongside the fact that record labels were demanding the adoption of premium subscriptions only, forcing Spotify to ditch their freemium model if they wanted to launch in the US. On the other hand, Apple is believed to be approaching the final stages of negotiation with Universal Music Group, as EMI, Sony and WMG are already on board for the iCloud announcement at WWDC. Others have also reported Apple will have to finalize deals with music publishers, besides labels, before launching any music service, with negotiations also quickly moving forward on that end.
Evolver’s article reminds of an old rumor that claimed Apple executives (including VP of Internet Services Eddy Cue) were pressuring labels to decline Spotify’s offers to prevent the European company from launching a freemium music service in the US. However, the new theory seems slightly different in the way the labels are willing to wait for Apple’s iCloud to become available before closing deals with Spotify. Spotify currently offers desktop and mobile applications to listen to an online music catalogue thanks to the deals the company has signed with European labels. Apple’s new service is rumored to offer a similar setup, with iOS devices capable of streaming music from the cloud and iTunes for Mac and Windows handling uploads and other functionalities.
Following a recent redesign that brought a completely new look and clean design to the mobile app and an update to the desktop application which enabled sync for iPods and a variety of other perks for Premium subscribers, Spotify announced another minor update for the iPhone app this morning, finally bringing the much desired “queue” functionality and a new action bar to quickly share songs and add them to playlists.
Whilst there’s still no version for iPad available — but we know they’re working on it — the latest Spotify for iPhone allows you to add a song to the play queue and listen to it as soon as the song that’s currently playing is over. As you build your queue, Spotify will keep adding songs on top of each other, letting you choose which songs you want to listen to without constantly going back to a playlist and hit the play button. Unfortunately, it looks like there’s no queue management interface just yet, and the only sign of animation I could find is the album artwork that “flies” onto the Now Playing button when you add a song to the queue. But other than that, I couldn’t find a screen specifically detailing my existing queue.
Another new feature is the Twitter-like swipe bar that contains buttons to star a song, add it to a playlist, jump to an artist or album page, and queue. The design is very nice and I think this will make me save a lot of time when starring songs and checking out artist profiles on Spotify.
The Spotify iPhone app is available for free in the UK App Store. Get it here.
Officially announced yesterday, Spotify began rolling out the promised 0.5 update for the desktop client a few minutes ago, featuring an updated UI and the much anticipated playlist and MP3 sync for iPod Classic, Shuffle, and Nano, alongside wireless sync for iOS and Android devices running the Spotify mobile application. The updated desktop client, available now for download here, comes with a slightly redesigned user interface that’s inspired by the latest iOS and OS X Lion builds: there’s lots of “linen background” going on, redesigned toolbar icons with a more flat look, new translucent buttons to reveal and expand the album artwork, as well as a general polish that clearly brings OS X graphical elements to mind. If you’re familiar with iOS and the latest Lion developer builds, you’ll feel right home with the new Spotify. I like the app’s new look.
Spotify 0.5 can sync playlists, local files and purchased tracks to an iPod (non-iOS) via USB or iOS device wirelessly. The interface to manage sync is quite simple and intuitive, as there’s a new Devices tab in the sidebar that lists all the iPhones or iPods you’ve connected to Spotify. Once connected, the app will display all your playlists, starred items and local files in a new window, allowing you to choose whether you want to sync “all music” to a device, or only specific playlists. Whilst iPhones and iPod touches get the possibility to sync anything as they’ll be able to stream songs later using the mobile app, classic iPods can only receive local files — meaning MP3s Spotify has found on your computer or songs you’ve purchased through the service’s new store. Songs and playlists that are not found will display a “Get Missing” button that takes you to the embedded web store. Tracks start at 50p, but Spotify is also offering MP3 bundles at a higher price.
Overall, Spotify 0.5 looks like a really solid update that shows the path the company has taken: becoming the ultimate music player on the desktop and mobile thanks to a combination of streaming, cache, purchases and sync. Check out more screenshots below. (more…)