iPhone and Android users have a new subscription service to consider when shopping for an unlimited music download service: Xbox Music.
Announced today on the company’s Xbox Wire blog, Microsoft is now making its Xbox Music Pass service available to iPhone users and devices with Android installed. The two new applications, the Android version of which is already available in the Google Play Store, will allow users to stream from their cloud music collection on other devices besides Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Phone.
Users will need to have already signed up for an Xbox Music Pass for the application to work. In their current form, Xbox Music on Android and Xbox Music on iOS don’t offer any of the free ad-supported radio features of the Xbox Music on Windows 8 client. Users will also have to remain near an internet connection. This first version of Xbox Music for iOS and Android doesn’t include support for offline music playback. Microsoft did confirm that it would be adding offline music playback support in the near future, to The Verge.
In addition to launching these new applications, Microsoft has also revamped the Xbox Music Web client that it introduced earlier this year. Users will now be able to enjoy the service’s ad-supported radio streams for as much as they want, though the company says it will limit the amount of hours users can listen for free in six months.
Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Microsoft is announcing the Xbox Music apps for Android and iOS on the eve of Apple’s event in Cupertino, Calif. tomorrow. In order for Microsoft to get iOS users’s attention, Apple’s iOS would have to not offer a first-party subscription service. While that’s true today, Apple’s iOS 7 mobile operating system includes support for iTunes Radio, a new subscription service that operates mostly like Microsoft’s. It’s likely that Apple will begin releasing iOS 7 to end users tomorrow.
While Xbox Music for iPhone has yet to appear in the iTunes App Store, Xbox Music on Android is readily available for users to download for free. The application does appear to have a solid user interface and playback controls, however it’s currently not compatible with the two latest Android flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.