Simplify Media--a free desktop application for Windows or Mac OS X that lets you stream your digital music or your friends' from iTunes or Winamp (Simplify Media covered previously)--today released a new version of its software that is developed to run on the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch.
Rather than function as a conventional iPhone app, (i.e. a Web app built for Safari), the new program is standalone software that requires a "jailbroken" iPhone to work.
The ability to listen to your entire music collection or your friends' anywhere your iPhone or iPod Touch has Wi-Fi access could certainly be very popular, since iPhones max out at 8GB storage and iPod Touch only allows up to 16GB. However, Simplify Media for the iPhone is still in alpha release, so don't get your hopes up too high yet.
Using a jailbroken iPhone with 1.0.2 firmware, we were able to access a remote library and play songs fine, but there were major functionality limits and stability issues. There's no way to sort your streaming music; back and forward buttons don't function completely; and we encountered some crashing issues.
A quick e-mail conversation with Simplify Media co-founder Paul Joyce seems to indicate that most of our stability issues were because of the outdated 1.0.2 firmware. Paul explains the problems with using 1.0.2:
"Although the early development of our peer-to-peer framework was done with 1.0.2, once the 1.1.1 jailbreak was perfected we upgraded. All of the (complicated) tie-ins with Quicktime to enable continuous playing were done with the newer firmware (1.1.1 and 1.1.2), explaining your problems. We have our personal phones (for testing) and a few extra phones and an iPod Touch for development, but, unfortunately, not enough to support the earlier firmware."
Despite the currently limited feature set, Simplify Media is a great idea that will catch on in one form or another. Paul also mentioned that sort control, next song, and previous song haven't been coded yet but are planned for the next release. The company must definitely be champing at the bit for an official SDK for the iPhone, which is expected in February 2008. It's quite curious that the Simplify Media iPhone app isn't Web-based, considering the popularity of SeeQPod; also, anyone with an iPhone will have to break their service contract to even install Simplify Media.
For more on Simplify Media for iPhone or iPod Touch, visit the iPhone page on the Simplify Media Web site. If you're not prepared to jailbreak your iPhone or install prerelease software on your fancy new gadget, watch this Simplify Media video below that offers a tour of the mobile app. The software currently supports WMA, AAC, and MP3 formats for streaming audio.
Note: Download.com Editor Jason Parker contributed to this article, including most of the hands-on testing of the Simplify Media for iPhone app.