Pandora 3.1 enables background music with iOS 4

The single most-used example of the benefits of multitasking with iOS 4 is the ability to stream Pandora music in the background. Well, the 3.1 version of the Internet music app finally makes that happen.

The latest version of Pandora has a few minor bug fixes and minor enhancements but background processing is the big addition.

“Backgrounding: Pandora keeps playing after you press press the home button. You can go surf the web or use Facebook and the music won’t stop. (Available only on multitasking capable devices with iOS 4.),” the company wrote in its app description.

If you’ve never used the service before, it enables you to listen to various musical artists for free. You pump in an artist or song you like and Pandora streams you music that it thinks is similar to your tastes and interests. You cannot control the exact order of songs that are played and there are a few audible ads unless you opt for the premium version. I’m actually a premium member of the service and think it’s cool but I would still love to have unlimited skips.

While Pandora is often brought up in the mobile streaming music space, the competition is heating up. Rhapsody is arguably ahead of Pandora, as it offers the ability to stream music as well as download tracks for offline access. I’m sure Rhapsody will soon offer its own version for iOS 4 devices that streams tunes in the background.

Looking forward, Pandora’s biggest competitor may be Apple itself. We all expected Apple to unveil its streaming iTunes service at WWDC but I guess we’ll have to wait a while to see this. I think it’s just a matter of time though, as the company would be smart to roll out a cloud-friendly digital lockerbox to access all your purchased iTunes content on any iOS device.

Apple has already purchased and shut down Lala, so it has paved the way for this type of streaming service. It will be fun to see how Pandora and Rhapsody react and stay relevant once Apple jumps in this space.

– Download Pandora for iPhone (Free) – [iTunes Link]

Back to top ▴