Rhapsody is a subscription music service that surprisingly has an iPhone client. It’s a surprise because Apple has a history of not allowing applications in the iTunes App Store that provide the same functionality as the built-in iPhone apps, and Rhapsody would appear to provide the same functionality as the iPhone’s music player. The difference, of course, is that the Rhapsody iPhone client only streams music so if there isn’t a network connection, you will not be able to play music. In short, the experience can be less than the iPhone’s built-in music player, which plays music stored on the device, and therefore doesn’t require an Internet connection.
Rhapsody has just released a video demonstrating the downloading functionality they are adding to their iPhone app. As a subscriber (Rhapsody’s all-you-can-eat monthly subscription is $15 per month) you can download songs from Rhapsody to the iPhone and keep playing them so long as you keep paying the subscription. Zune owners will recognize that model as being the same as the Zune Pass subscription Microsoft provides. What I am curious to see is whether Apple will actually approve the version with this downloading function. The upgrade enables the iPhone Rhapsody app to have the same functionality and a better experience than the built-in music player because users can obtain music without connecting to iTunes on a Mac or PC.