by Scott Danielson
The past year or so has been pretty huge for Spotify. After the long awaited music-streaming service finally launched in the US, and registered a snowballing number of new users, Spotify is now available on several mobile platforms from iOS to Windows. This past Tuesday, the service added the Apple iPad to the list of devices running Spotify apps.
In true Spotify fashion, the app is elegantly designed, utilizing several tried and true iOS elements, both visual and functional, to improve the user experience.
Spotify greets you with the “What’s New” screen, where you can see a list of trending playlists and top tracks among your Spotify-using friends, as well as swipe through a carousel of recommended albums.
The robust search feature baked into the app displays results in an attractive and easy to navigate layout, providing access to various albums and tracks, as well as social features. The transport controls are always visible at the bottom of the screen, provided that something is playing.
The social features built into Spotify for iPad are arguably better and more functional than those built into the desktop client. From the same location, artists and users can be subscribed to and playlists can be shared, both within Spotify and to external social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Tracks shared with you by other Spotify users reside in your Inbox and can be revisited. However, there seems to be no discernible way to remove tracks from your inbox from the iPad. Responsiveness seems to be instant, though, as the removal a track from the inbox on the desktop client was reflected on the nearby iPad client immediately.
Playlist creation is as easy as tapping “New Playlist.” With an impressive level of simplicity, songs can be added to, removed from, and reordered within playlists. Playlists can be set to ‘Published’ or ‘Collaborative’ directly from the track listing, and if you have a Premium account, playlists can also be downloaded to your device for offline use.
Panes displaying information can easily be made visible or hidden with simple swipes left and right. The full-screen player (shown at the top) can been navigated with vertical swipes. The touch screen navigation is very intuitive.
The Settings menu provides access to toggle switches for Offline Mode, Private Sessions, Facebook broadcasting, and Last.fm scrobbling, as well as playback and audio quality settings.
Like the other mobile versions of Spotify, the benefit is having access to a massive library of music from a device that otherwise couldn’t store it all. The app operates fully in the background on the iPad, and even hijacks the transport controls in the multi-tasking bar, which allows tracks to be paused skipped and restarted while using another app entirely.
Spotify is a universal app in the iOS App Store, and is available for free. All users get a free 48 hour trial, and using the app beyond that limit will require a Premium subscription to Spotify.
Get the Spotify iPad app at the App Store.
Scott Danielson is a freelance writer and musician living in Cincinnati, OH. When he’s not writing like a madman, he enjoys drinking coffee, solving puzzles, and plotting the demise of Internet Explorer. Hit him up on Twitter @scottld3