Will Rhapsody For iPhone Pass Muster With Apple?


Can Apple and Rhapsody make beautiful music together? A Rhapsody app for iPhone is something Rhapsody owner RealNetworks would really like to see, but the music subscription service might have a tougher time getting by Apple's app approval team than its executives think.

For $14.99 a month, RealNetworks' Rhapsody service offers users unlimited music streaming over Wi-Fi, 3G and Edge networks. The iPhone app, which will be available as a free download, works in much the same way. RealNetworks confirmed as much in a Sunday blog post, explaining that it would submit the application this week.

"We know not everyone who uses an iPhone is a Rhapsody subscriber, but we think the app will appeal to anyone who has an affinity for music," wrote RealNetworks' Lacy Kamp. "Subscribers can just log in to the app with their existing user name and password and the experience will be seamless. Non-subscribers will have the opportunity to try the app for a limited time free-trial period."

Rhapsody for iPhone would be the iPhone's first available on-demand music service application. Rhapsody can search for individual songs and make playlists, and if users want to purchase a song, the app will link to Apple's iTunes app for download.

Rhapsody Vice President of Business Management Neil Smith told The New York Times he was confident Apple would approve the app, though he hadn't received any indication that Apple was leaning in either the "approve" or "deny" direction.

RealNetworks also confirmed a Rhapsody app for Google's Android platform is in the works.

Apple has been under scrutiny for how it reviews app submissions, given the recent high-profile dustup over its rejection of the Google Voice application. Rhapsody might drive sales of music over iTunes, but it can also be seen as an alternative to iTunes, in which users can stream all the music they want for a flat fee without having to additionally purchase songs.

It'll be interesting to see whether Apple thinks Rhapsody messes with the iPhone's "distinctive user experience" the way Google Voice apparently does.