Sirius XM’s (SIRI) long-anticipated iPhone app is now available for download. It’s fine, if you want to pay for more music and programming on your phone. Just don’t count on using the app to keep up with Howard Stern: It doesn’t include his channels.
Why not? We assume it’s a mobile rights issue — it doesn’t seem like something Sirius would leave off otherwise. We’re checking with the company and will update if we hear back.
Meanwhile, after a quick test, the rest of the app works pretty well: You can listen to 120 channels of streaming music, talk, and sports on an iPhone over 3G and wi-fi and on an iPod touch. The sound quality — at least in our test over wi-fi — is good. (Though like all iPhone apps, you can’t use it in the background. So if you want to check any other app, the sound will stop.)
Unlike other iPhone radio apps, which mostly repurpose terrestrial and Internet radio streams, Sirius XM’s is not a free service. If you’re a Sirius XM subscriber, you must sign up for the $3/month extra online streaming package. Or if you don’t have a satellite radio, you can sign up for the $13/month standalone streaming package.
Will this app take off? It might be popular with some existing Sirius fans, especially those who already pay extra for the online streaming kit. But we have a hard time seeing the app driving significant new subscribership to Sirius, as there’s simply too many other ways to listen to music on the iPhone already. (Which don’t cost $13/month.)