In addition to simply streaming music from the Music Unlimited catalog, users will be able save cache their playlists for offline streaming at a later time. The service is already available on Android devices (not to mention several of Sony’s own products) so it’s more than a little surprising that it will soon make the iOS leap.
It’s especially puzzling because there is already no shortage of competitors in the streaming music space. As VentureBeat notes, rivals Spotify and Rdio have been on iOS for quite some time now, and already offer a similar feature set.
Really, it’s problem that all new entrants to this space have to deal with. As Eric Schmidt would probably say, it all comes down to differentiation. Rara, a relatively new streaming music service that launched this past December, is a great example. While they peg their service as being tuned for the non-tech savvy, their other main differentiator was that they launched simultaneously in multiple markets worldwide where some of the bigger services have yet to make a splash. While it’s still early to say if the approach is actually sustainable, I’ve got to give them credit for taking a different approach.
In this case, Sony’s appearance on iOS probably holds considerable appeal for people who have already invested heavily into the Sony media/hardware ecosystem, but it’s going to be a tough sell for anyone who doesn’t have some sort of pre-existing allegiance to the Japanese giant. I wish them the best — more competition is always good — but I look forward to seeing how many iOS users adopt it.