Nearly six months have passed since Slacker first announced its intentions to bring caching capability to its app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. In that time, I've received dozens of e-mails from fans of the music service who have been anxiously awaiting for updated app. Today, I get to deliver some good news: Slacker 2.0.56 with iPhone caching exists! In fact, it's downloading stations to my iPod Touch as I write this. Unfortunately, you still can't have it...and yes, I can hear the groans from here. Slacker's latest update has been submitted to Apple for approval, but there's no solid time line for the approval process, or even a guarantee that it will be approved at all.
In the meantime, however, I'm more than happy to inspire some jealousy with a firsthand account and screenshots of Slacker with caching. It's a pretty great feature to have (especially on the Touch), but it's not without limitations. For one, caching stations takes forever--even over Wi-Fi--and it requires the transmission of massive amounts of data. Also, you can only save up to five stations, and you must refresh all cached stations at once, so--once again--the process is terribly sluggish. An option to refresh each station individually would be preferable. Plus, in my initial testing of the feature, only one of my five stations would refresh anyway, and it still took ages. (I hope that Slacker is working on a fix for this apparent bug.)
A subscription to Slacker Radio Plus is required for caching capability, but the fee is a very reasonable $4.99 per month--or $3.99 per month if you pay one full year up front. The service's other features have beento , but for a closer look at the latest version of the iPhone and iPod Touch app, check out the gallery.