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Rhapsody iPhone App Introduces Reliable (But Confusing) Offline Playback

The newly independent Rhapsody is moving at lightning speed to steal back some market share by slashing prices and marketing the iPhone's offline playback support of the service. The former Real subsidiary has beaten other would-be killer iPhone music apps to the punch, as it's the first on the block (in the U.S., anyway) allowing users to tag songs they want to play -- even when no Internet connection is available. MOG plans to offer the feature starting in May, while Spotify has been offering it in Europe for sometime now.

We put the new 'Rhapsody 2.0' app through a trial, and witnessed the offline caching abilities handle sporadic drops in connection without breaking a sweat. Even when we went and turned off both the Wi-Fi and cellular radios while streaming a song (thanks to the magic of jailbreaking), Rhapsody just kept going. The app was quick to recognize when there was a Web connection available, and changes the interface (blue for online, orange for off) to reflect the app's status.

Rhapsody 2.0 for the iPhone

Though generally pleased with how robust and stable the app was, we were left wanting. The big issue was choosing songs for playback when you're going to be offline for sometime. Currently, the only option is to add tracks to a playlist and then later flag the entire playlist for offline access. That means if you want to listen to the new Erykah Badu album, you'll have add the whole thing to a playlist first, then open it and tap "download" in a confusing two-step process. Rhapsody said it's working on a way to offer individual songs and albums for offline play without adding to a playlist.

Otherwise, the selection and price (free to download and $10 a month for subscription) is about on par with
competitors. Check out the gallery above for our hands on with the new, and improved, Rhapsody for the iPhone.

Tags: audio, features, iphone, iphoneapp, music, musicstreaming, rhapsody, smartphone, streaming music, StreamingMusic, top