After all the rumors, leaks and false alarms, Sweden’s top music streaming service is finally ready for the big(ger) screen.
Spotify has landed on the iPad, and not surprisingly, the new app is a no brainer of a download for anyone currently in possession of a premium account and an Apple tablet, — that much we can say right off the bat.
But how well did the company harness the capabilities of the magical device, and is the whole thing worth the wait.
Let’s kick things off here by stating, definitively, that the iPad version of Spotify isn’t simply a scaled up part of its smartphone sibling.
After all, the tablet brings a lot more than just added screen real estate, it offers up potential for an entirely different usage experience.
And in their defense, Spotify’s developers don’t seem to have spent all of this time resting on their music streaming laurels — they’ve been developing an app that does a good job harnessing what the tablet has to offer, with artwork, touch functionality and discovery at its center.
As with others versions of the service, the iPad app asks you to sign in with either your Spotify or Facebook account info.
A spokesperson made it clear that discovery is really at the center of usage here, and that much is clear upon signing in, a big, touch friendly carousel of Recommended music taking up nearly half the page.
Recommendations have long been a bit of a contentious topic amongst Spotify users.
Spotify improved things a bit on that front, with the addition of third party apps like Last.fm to the desktop version.
Without those in play here, recommendations are still a bit lacking — we can’t really saw we’re enthralled by what Spotify’s offering.
For starters, there’s the fact that the rest of this front page is devoted to things like new releases, trending playlists and top tracks.
And, of course, there’s the social aspect — if you’re not the sort who’s always on the ball so far as discovering new music is concerned, you’re pretty lost if you’re not utilizing the app’s social functionality — which is where the Facebook log in comes in handy.
The Inbox and People buttons in the left column also help out with the friendly music discovery.
Clicking the latter will bring up a page with large images of your connected Facebook pals.
Pick one of them, and a half screen panel will pop up, showing off your friend’s top tracks and artists.
These panels are the key to the app’s usability — click on one of your friend’s favorite artists, for example, and that panel with shift left, as a new one pops up.
You can swipe back and forth through these panels, allowing for a quick and easy way to find your way back as you go further and further down the music discovery rabbit hole.
It’s an easy path to take on the app, with bios and links to similar artists pretty much everywhere.
It’s not exactly a tailored recommendation, but once you hit on an artist you like, it’s pretty easy to imagine a an hour or two being swallowed in this manner.
But fear not — when your current track is always accessible via the anchored persistent play that lives on the bottom, featuring an album thumbnail, status bar, play button and track forward / back controls.
Tap on the album thumbnail, for example, and you’ll get a pop up that lets you star tracks, add them to playlists , share them, shuffle and repeat.
Click on an artist’s name and you’ll get a brief description (you can tap that for a full page bio), related artists and their top tracks.
Tellingly, Spotify doesn’t make complete discographies easily accessible in this matter.
The app really seems focused on casual discovery, rather than the career spanning listening habits of more devoted music fans.
They’ll be better off sticking to the desktop app — or at least starring music on their for later listening on the iPad or iPhone.
Clicking the settings button at the bottom of the left side brings up a number of options.
Here you can toggle to offline mode, add the crossfade and gapless playback recently added to the desktop version, turn private sessions on and off and fiddle with Last.fm scrobbling and Facebook sharing.
You can also fiddling with the sounds quality of streaming tracks, which now go all the way up to a hearty 320Kbps.
The search feature, meanwhile, borrows predictive functionality from the desktop version, so you theoretically won’t have to type in full artist and track names, as the app guesses at what you’re looking for, based on popularity and your own listening habits.
“B” brought up Chris Brown, “Be” brought up Beyonce, “Bea” brought up the Beach Boys and “Beas” brought up the Beastie Boys.
Potify’s got an extremely usable app on its hands, with the iPad version, harnessing some of the services best features and utilizing the iPad’s hardware.
In addition to competitors like Slacker, iHeartRadio and the radio function on Spotify, digital services keep adding features that imitate Pandora’s customizable streams of music.
Navigation is great, thanks to the swipeable half pains and the use of large album art is a nice nod to those who miss the aesthetics of physical media.
For power users, however, the iPad app should be regarded as a supplement to, rather than replacement for its desktop bound counter part.
Sean Brierley is a business journalist based in Hobart, Australia. Sean has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Sean spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.