Streaming online music is quickly becoming ubiquitous with the launch of iCloud and similar services, but Apple device and iTunes users are often given second shrift as rivals cater to Android-powered apps and handsets. New native iOS applications gMusic and aMusic, which let you stream songs from the Internet on-demand to the iPhone or iPad from Google Music and Amazon Cloud Drive, respectively, aim to even the digital odds.
Designed by Interactive Innovative Solutions, each retails for $1.99. Seemingly unlikely candidates for Apple App Store approval, given their promotion of competing services, and short on frills, the duo nonetheless perform as advertised. Streaming 20,000 songs to smartphone or tablet PC straight from your Google Music account and online locker, gMusic lets you near-instantaneously beam down tracks by artist, album or genre, or create and edit custom playlists. Sister program aMusic offers similar functionality with Amazon Cloud music accounts of varying size, so you can store your entire collection of songs and records online, then access it whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. Both can also play music while running in the background, so you can multitask or run additional apps while enjoying a backing soundtrack.
Requiring use of legitimate accounts and relatively Spartan in nature, neither program is likely to win any awards for industrial design or implementation. But as pure practicality goes, each gets the job done, and sets an intriguing precedent. If, as with Spotify before, Apple truly is willing to embrace other cloud music services beyond passively ignoring access via supporting Web applications, it not only means healthier and more diverse competition for listeners’ eardrums. It also signals a possible future where third-party software developers can create apps of all kinds – utilities, games, social networks, instant messengers, etc. – that use the Internet as a limitless jukebox.
Apple reserves the right to pull the plug on either piece of software at any time and, for most software makers, it’s worth nothing that an acoustically-infinite future still remains far off. Nonetheless, if left untouched, the effort may come to represent a small, but telling step forward for streaming audio fans.