11 ways Apple can kill Spotify on iPhone

Spotify on iPhone
How can Apple beat Spotify at its own game?

Everybody loves Spotify, and its impressive iPhone app is currently sitting on an Apple desk waiting to be rubber-stamped or rejected.

So what can Apple do to kill it? Could iTunes on the iPhone/iPod be better, and are there any Spotify tricks Apple should nick? Here are eleven ways Apple can beat the European upstart.

1. Start offering an iTunes subscription service

You know it, we know it, Steve Jobs knows it: the musical wind is changing, and in the not too distant future the idea of paying to own music will seem as quaint as having a giant handlebar moustache and travelling by Penny Farthing.

Apple's interested in hardware, not software, and a subscription service won't harm iPod or iPhone sales. Quite the opposite: we can easily imagine The Kids going crazy for an iPhone 3GS with an unlimited music subscription built into the monthly data plan.

2. Add wireless syncing to iTunes

Spotify's Wi-Fi synchronisation is very nifty, and it's something we've wanted to see the iPhone do since day one. And no, MobileMe doesn't count. Apple got rid of the dock ages ago. Surely it's time to get rid of the USB cable, too?

Wi-Fi sync

SYNCING FEELING: Syncing via Wi-Fi is an excellent idea, and we can't think of any reason why iTunes shouldn't do it

3. Stream everything in iTunes

Spotify's playlist is big, but at 6 million-odd tracks it's nowhere near as comprehensive as iTunes' selection of over ten million songs - and Spotify might not have permission to stream all of that catalogue, either: earlier this week, Spotify had to remove Bob Dylan's stuff until such time that it can prove it has the rights to stream his music.

4. Cache content

What makes Spotify on the iPhone so desirable is its caching: you can download playlists to your phone and cache all the songs, enabling you to play them back even when your iPhone's in airplane mode. A subscription version of iTunes could and should do the same.

5. Make offline available online

For those of us in places where 3G coverage ranges from patchy to completely non-existent, such as "pretty much anywhere that isn't a city", it'd be extremely handy to have an offline mode that works independently of our phones' cellular radios.

Spotify offline

OFFLINE: Spotify's offline playlists are a brilliant idea, enabling you to keep on listening even when you can't get online

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.