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App review: Spotify for iPad

Spotify unveiled its new iPad app this week, adding to its existing portfolio of iPhone and Android apps.

It’s free to download and has graphics that are optimised for the new Retina display.

But to be honest I was surprised that Spotify didn’t already have an iPad app, so was expecting it to offer some remarkable functionality to make it worth the wait.

Unfortunately it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean that Spotify has dropped the ball with their latest mobile offering…

It’s premium

As with its other mobile apps, you need a premium account to use the iPad version.

However, it’s likely that most iPad owners will already have the iPhone version installed, so it’s unlikely to drive a huge number of new sign ups.


The app itself is very slick and intuitive, so for anyone familiar with iPad apps it won’t take long to work out the basic functionality.

It opens on the ‘What’s New’ tab, offering recommended albums, your friends’ top track and playlists, and new releases.

Personally I’ve never felt that Spotify worked for music discovery, but its integration with Facebook has added more than 7m users so social and sharing are key to its continued growth.


That said, the ‘What’s New’ tab is almost an exact copy of the desktop version, which is slightly unimaginative but at least offers consistency for users.

The other tabs are home to ‘Search’, ‘Inbox’, ‘Playlists’ and ‘People’ which all offer the same functions as their corresponding tabs on the desktop version. 

The best feature is the ability to flick through artist, album and playlist details from a tab that slides in from the right of the screen.

It means you can swipe through tracks and play songs without navigating away from the search page.

When a song is playing the details and controls appear in a tab at the bottom of the screen and remain there as you navigate through the app.

By clicking on the album artwork next to the song details you can access all the usual tools such as adding the track to a playlist or sharing it with friends.

The iPad app also offers the ability to store playlists offline, which is a function already offered on its other mobile apps.

In conclusion…

Spotify’s iPad app is long overdue, as its iPhone version came out more than two years ago.

But the fact it has taken this long suggests that perhaps it’s not as in demand as you would assume.

Users could already play Spotify through their computer or their smartphone, so I doubt anyone was that put out by the fact that up until now there wasn’t a iPad version.

And presumably most people iPad owners already had the iPhone app installed, so they were already catered for to some extent anyway.

That said, Spotify has come up with a very good, if unremarkable, iPad app, though the lack of the recently-introduced apps means the best experience is still to be found on desktop. 

It’s easy-to-use and offers the basic functionality that one would expect, but fails to offer any unique tools that make it a ‘must-have’ app. 

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