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Spotify iPhone app completed: Will Apple allow it in the App Store?

An iPhone version of Spotify's killer music service has been built and submitted to Apple's App Store. But will Apple ever allow it for download to iPhones?

An iPhone version of Spotify's killer music service has been built and submitted to Apple's App Store. It's intended to be a free download, but only Spotify Premium subscribers will be able to use it to stream music to their iPhone -- there's no free streaming option.

In a blog posting on Spotify's Web site, the company confirmed the app: "Our iPhone version is very similar to the Spotify you're already familiar with, and will allow you to listen to your music even when you're not connected to a network."

On the desktop, Spotify lets users stream as much music as they want via iTunes-like software, paid for either by audible and display advertising, or by paying a subscription for an ad-free service. But no music is stored on the user's computer -- it all streams from Spotify's servers. This iPhone app, however, promises to work "even when you're not connected to a network".

This could prevent the Spotify iPhone app from being allowed onto the iPhone by Apple, as it directly mimics functionality that the iPhone itself offers. Apps like Last.fm let you create what are essentially radio stations -- you can't browse for and listen to full albums. Spotify does let you do that, however, so it competes directly with iTunes, which isn't something we expect Apple to like.

Offline playback works by downloading songs in your Spotify playlists to the phone so that they can be played locally, as opposed to being streamed over the Internet from a server. We saw this demoed on the Android version of Spotify, which still hasn't been released, much to the chagrin of our in-house Android evangelist Ian Morris.

You would expect Spotify to have made contact with Apple to determine whether such an application would be accepted. But that's what the creators of the iPhone Commodore 64 emulator did and, when they submitted their finished work, it got rejected.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that the same fate doesn't lie in store for Spotify's app. As it will only available to Spotify's paying customers, it could be the catalyst the company sorely needs to persuade users to pay up cold, hard cash for its service.

Would you start to pay for Spotify if this app was approved for download from the App Store? Let us know in the comments below.