At long last, Slacker Radio 2.0 for iPhone is nearly here! Of course, the most notable and eagerly anticipated feature is the ability to cache stations for offline playback. Slacker’s updated app was submitted to Apple for review yesterday and, barring any show stoppers, should be available in iTunes in the next day or so.
Slacker 2.0 enables one to cache 25 stations, although it’s not yet clear to me how much music or disk space (approximately) we’re talking about. I’ve only been in possession of the app about 12 hours, but I suspect I’d have more than enough content to cover my flights to and from Buffalo last weekend. Yet, will it get me through an 8 hour work day (from a perpetual AT&T dead zone)? We’re about to find out…
I didn’t precisely time the initial load, but over WiFi it took about 15 or 20 minutes to cache 6 stations. Given the iPhone’s background app limitations, there’s no scheduled station refreshes as seen on Android — so it’s a manually initiated process. Although the Slacker app will warn you when your cached content is running low.
It should come as no surprise that a killer feature like offline playback wouldn’t be part of Slacker’s freebie service. And indeed, station caching, along with unlimited skips and commercial-free music, is part of the Slacker Radio Plus package which runs $4/month. Which is really a no-brainer in my mind – and something I gladly pre-paid for a year of service a couple months back. However, the continued lack of Slacker on Sonos combined with Rhapsody’s recently lowered rates and offline caching has me playing the field.