11 ways Apple can kill Spotify on iPhone

21st Aug 2009 | 12:15

11 ways Apple can kill Spotify on iPhone

It could be the iPhone's killer app. Here's how to kill it

11 ways Apple can kill Spotify

Everybody loves Spotify, and its impressive iPhone app is currently sitting on an Apple desk waiting to be rubber-stamped or rejected.

So what can Apple do to kill it? Could iTunes on the iPhone/iPod be better, and are there any Spotify tricks Apple should nick? Here are eleven ways Apple can beat the European upstart.

1. Start offering an iTunes subscription service

You know it, we know it, Steve Jobs knows it: the musical wind is changing, and in the not too distant future the idea of paying to own music will seem as quaint as having a giant handlebar moustache and travelling by Penny Farthing.

Apple's interested in hardware, not software, and a subscription service won't harm iPod or iPhone sales. Quite the opposite: we can easily imagine The Kids going crazy for an iPhone 3GS with an unlimited music subscription built into the monthly data plan.

2. Add wireless syncing to iTunes

Spotify's Wi-Fi synchronisation is very nifty, and it's something we've wanted to see the iPhone do since day one. And no, MobileMe doesn't count. Apple got rid of the dock ages ago. Surely it's time to get rid of the USB cable, too?

Wi-Fi sync

SYNCING FEELING:Syncing via Wi-Fi is an excellent idea, and we can't think of any reason why iTunes shouldn't do it

3. Stream everything in iTunes

Spotify's playlist is big, but at 6 million-odd tracks it's nowhere near as comprehensive as iTunes' selection of over ten million songs - and Spotify might not have permission to stream all of that catalogue, either: earlier this week, Spotify had to remove Bob Dylan's stuff until such time that it can prove it has the rights to stream his music.

4. Cache content

What makes Spotify on the iPhone so desirable is its caching: you can download playlists to your phone and cache all the songs, enabling you to play them back even when your iPhone's in airplane mode. A subscription version of iTunes could and should do the same.

5. Make offline available online

For those of us in places where 3G coverage ranges from patchy to completely non-existent, such as "pretty much anywhere that isn't a city", it'd be extremely handy to have an offline mode that works independently of our phones' cellular radios.

Spotify offline

OFFLINE: Spotify's offline playlists are a brilliant idea, enabling you to keep on listening even when you can't get online

11 ways Apple can kill Spotify part two

6. Tell the networks to get stuffed

Some iPhone apps are crippled for no other reason than phone operators don't like them - so for example Skype is Wi-Fi only. A streaming iTunes needs 3G connectivity to be worthwhile, and as Spotify's demonstrated you can deliver 3G streaming with excellent sound quality.

7. Go social

Unlike Spotify, iTunes is a one-person system. The iPhone's support for peer to peer networking makes Spotify-style playlist sharing perfectly possible, and of course in MobileMe Apple already has a solid data sharing system that iTunes could plug into.

8. Offer it to Americans

Spotify isn't available in the US yet, and that's an awfully big market. If Apple beats Spotify to the US, Spotify's going to have a hard time fighting back - assuming, that is, that record labels are willing to play ball. US labels aren't entirely happy about Apple's market dominance; will they really want to make Apple even more powerful?

9. Don't let anyone multitask

The iPhone OS won't let third-party applications multitask, and while that's attracted criticism it does mean Spotify is damaged, possibly fatally. The iPod app keeps playing when you do other things with your iPhone. The Spotify app can't.

iPhone multitasking

APPLE ONLY:Here's something only Apple applications can do: keep on going when you're doing something else

10. Hang on a bit

Despite the hype, Spotify is losing massive amounts of money. As long as its investors are happy it'll keep going, but sooner or later they're going to expect to see a return on their investment. The internet is littered with the corpses of sites and services that simply ran out of money, and Spotify could turn out to be one of them.

11. Keep Spotify locked in the App Store approval dungeon, refusing to let anybody know whether it's going to be approved or not, thereby making other developers think twice about attempting to create anything vaguely musical for the iPod and iPhone - and keep on doing it until everyone at Spotify hurls themselves off a bridge in despair.

Apple wouldn't do that… would it?

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Liked this? Then check out 10 tips to turn you into a Spotify ninja

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