Having been optimised for the iPad, Spotify is now ready to challenge your iTunes account

For a long time, the iPhone-only status of the Spotify app was a mystifying part of owning an iPad. The music-streaming service is hugely popular all over the world, and seemingly a perfect fit for mobile devices beyond the smartphone as users want to carry their playlists with them. Now though, the wait seems to make sense as it appears Spotify was merely trying to get the iPad-optimised version of the app just right before unveiling it.

But before you even get the app open it’s worth noting that constant access is only available to those with Premium Spotify accounts. Users have the chance to sign up for a 48-hour free trial to get a taste of the freedom of mobile playlists, and Spotify will hope this is enough to see you sign up permanently.

Once you are logged in, the first thing that will strike you is the interface, and how neat everything feels – even compared to the desktop version, which can look and feel a little busy at times. This iPad iteration has been stripped back and polished, with the Playlists screen being a perfect example of this, where the screen splits into two with a roundup of your various music lists in one window, and then album artwork and track lists in the other. The app is bordered on two sides by an unobtrusive menu of the key sections that you can navigate between with a tap, while the play settings are fixed along the bottom of the screen, with artist thumbnail and track-skipping options.

From this footer menu you can access one of the coolest features of the app, by tapping the ‘expand’ icon next to the album art thumbnail. This transforms the image to fullscreen and turns your device into a gesture-based music player as you can change tracks by swiping between artist images. From this screen it’s also possible to turn on shuffle and repeat, two features that come in particularly handy if your Spotify playlists are the soundtrack to a social event.

After spending just a little bit of time with this app, you will come to appreciate how simple it is to do the trademark things Spotify is renowned for. You can find new music and tailored radio stations by tapping and holding on a track and then selecting the radio icon from the pop-up window. From the same window, you can also add a song to your favourites or share it over your social networks in just moments.

While this app may be an extension of your desktop account, Spotify is anything but a client app, and that is clear when you start to explore the functionality that is at your fingertips. It is possible to edit the layout and contents of all your playlists from within the app; this includes the ability to add and remove tracks as well as simply rearranging them. Tap the Settings icon in the left-hand corner and you can adjust the play settings to suit you, including being able to tweak the crossfade between tracks as well as choose whether or not you would like gap-free playback.

In terms of functionality, by far the biggest advantage of using the Spotify app is the offline play mode that can be utilised. From your playlists, you can ‘download’ tracks or the entire list making your tunes available to you even when an internet connection isn’t. The real joy of this is that there is no limit to the amount of music you can download, so if you’re willing to spend a bit of time one evening, you can make your entire Spotify library accessible at any point, wherever you may be.

This app is a whole lot more than just an extension – it is complete music freedom for you and your iPad with all the reach of the Spotify library, but without the tether of a desktop or even an internet connection.

Rated 5 out of 5

A streamlined version of the desktop app that’s bound to get a lot of use.