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Slacker iPhone app adds station caching

Long-awaited feature brings Slacker's iPhone app to parity with its Android and BlackBerry apps, letting you play cached radio stations without a wireless connection.

Slacker 2.0 for iPhone features offline station caching, as long as you have a Slacker Plus subscription. Slacker

The latest update to the iPhone app for online radio service Slacker, which offers a combination of personalized radio based on particular artists and curated radio stations, just became available in the iTunes Marketplace.

The main advantage of the update, announced a couple weeks ago, is offline station caching, which lets you listen to stations even when you don't have a wireless data connection. It's been available in the Android and BlackBerry versions of the Slacker app since February, and it's a welcome addition to the iPhone version.

Caching is particularly useful if you spend lots of time out of the range of a wireless connection, like in a subway tunnel or on a plane. On the iPhone, cached stations will start with about 100 songs, but as you listen to those stations while connected, the app will gradually download more songs to the cached version of the station on your device, for a maximum of about 500.

The Slacker iPhone app is free, but to use station caching you'll need a Slacker Plus subscription, which starts at $4.99 a month. That's about half of what you'd pay for the iPhone version of Rhapsody, which offers on-demand playback of any song in its catalog of 9 million and lets you create and manipulate your own playlists.