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Spotify releases iPad app: Hands-on

Spotify aims to make your listening experience more enjoyable on a tablet with the music-streaming service's first iPad app, which includes enhanced social functions and a view in Cover Flow style.

Now playing: Watch this: Spotify iPad app: hands on

Spotify has released its first official iPad app today, with what a Spotify exec describes as "the most beautiful screen we've made for a Spotify app."

Spotify has previously released apps for PC, Mac, and Android with a tablet-compatible Android version to be expected "in the coming weeks," according to Charlie Hellman, Spotify's director of product development.

The app adds a dedicated Inbox icon grouped by user to access messages, Cover Flow-style navigation of playlists, and gapless playback and DJ-style crossfade.

The new Spotify app is available for free from the App Store but requires a subscription Josh Goldman/CNET

Used in conjunction with a dedicated dock or Apple AirPlay, Hellman said, the app makes the iPad a one-stop music shop.

Hellman said, "We wanted to take advantage of the amazing display that this device has, particularly the most recent iPad, to offer the most visually immersive living-room stereo replacement."

It's "something you could sit on a dock and...have it be the centerpiece of a party, which, i don't think any of our UIs so far fits that description," he said.

Check out the video above and the photo gallery below for an in-depth look at how the Spotify iPad app works.

Spotify is available for free with a Facebook log-in, but iPad users will need to upgrade to the Unlimited plan for $4.99 or the Premium plan which includes offline listening for $9.99 a month.

Spotify said it has a "high conversion rate" from the free mode with 10 million free subscribers and 3 million paid subscribers.

Hellman said the entire Spotify catalog was now available in 320kbps (Ogg Vorbis) and that most users wouldn't be able to spot the difference between the streamed file and the CD.

The service launched in Europe in 2008 and went on to launch in the United States in July 2011. The company has said it plans to enter more markets, and a recent job posting for Australia and New Zealand suggests the service will soon launch there.