Of the more than 500 applications unleashed during the AppStore launch today, none shows more promise for the iPhone’s future as a vital development platform than the amazing client for Internet radio station Pandora. It can play your personalized radio station over the air — even on EDGE. New music that isn’t in your iTunes library, playing anywhere that you have a signal.
There are a few of reasons why this is significant. First, it’s available for free but is supported by audio advertising, and if you get a subscription to the service, you can get rid of the ads altogether. That’s important, because Apple hadn’t made it at all clear that it was offering developers any business models other than outright purchases or complete giveaway. (Greg at Pinchmedia had a great article about iPhone business models a few weeks ago that I recommend for further reading if you’re curious.)
Second, though, Pandora’s application is a clear sign that Apple is going to be far less defensive of its role as media provider for the iPhone than it has been on the iPod. Think about it: Apple is allowing another company to play music in a dedicated application on the iPhone. Let me repeat that in bold: Apple is allowing another company to play music in a dedicated application on the iPhone! And the app even mimics the look of the iPhone’s music player! Seriously, I’ve never been more surprised by Apple in my life. On Tuesday night, I literally said Apple would never allow something like that to happen — too threatening to iTunes. And yet, here we are.
The presence of mobile Pandora for iPhone could, at its best, start to change how people think about both the iPhone and, especially, the iPod touch. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he called it a cell phone, a widescreen iPod and an Internet device. Though it was clear that the release of new third-party apps today would make it so much more, the fact that Apple has made room for someone else to deliver media to the iPhone really announces to the world that it is a platform for other companies to make money. And I have to confess that until today, I didn’t think it could be; I wasn’t sure Apple would make the iPhone more like a Mac and less like an iPod. Apple isn’t keeping out potential threats — it’s hoping that their work will help them sell more hardware. And that’s a level of openness the company has never had before.
Of course, this isn’t all new-found maturity for Apple — it helps that Pandora for iPhone directs you to iTunes over-the-air when you want to buy one of the songs that you like. Still, this is an incredibly positive sign for the iPhone going forward.
Via Listening Post