Sony updates Music Unlimited iOS app to keep up with Spotify and Rdio

In a bid to stay competitive with rivals like Spotify and Rdio, Sony has announced an update to its Music Unlimited iOS app that adds features like high-quality streaming and offline playback, and lowers the subscription price.

The new offline listening feature brings the iOS version up to speed with its Android counterpart, letting users download individual tracks and albums, as well as any playlists they have created on their device for use without an Internet connection. This should be helpful when users don't have access to a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, or when they want to conserve their battery or limit data usage. Spotify and Rdio already offer offline listening features.

Meanwhile, Version 1.3, which should go live in the App Store soon, also offers the ability to listen to music in "crystal clear 320kbps AAC high fidelity audio while streaming," Anu Kirk, director of music services for the Sony Entertainment Network, wrote in a blog post. High-quality streaming is not yet available for the new offline playback mode at this point.

To entice new users, Sony is offering current PlayStation Plus members a 12-month Premium subscription to Music Unlimited for $41.99 (£27), a 65 per cent discount from the regular monthly price. Those who don't have a PS Plus account can now get a one-year subscription for $59.99 (£39), a 50 per cent discount.

iPhone and iPod touch users can also get a one-month free-trial to test out the service.

A Sony Music Unlimited subscription gives users unlimited access to a library of more than 20 million songs. Sony said the iOS update is currently under review with Apple, and should go live soon.

Music Unlimited will also be available on Sony's newly announced Xperia Z Ultra smartphone, a 6.4in monster of a phablet, as well as the Smartwatch 2, Sony's latest wearable gadget, which features a 1.6in touchscreen.