Updated: Apple Approves Spotify’s iPhone App

Update 2 (6.15pm BST): Apple’s Cupertino spokesperson tells us it has approved the iPhone app from Spotify, the music service that many people believe represents a threat to iTunes: “The current status as of right now is it’s been approved and we hope to add the app to the more than 65,000 apps on the app store very soon. We’ve been in constant communication working with the developer and have already notified Spotify that the app will be in the app store very soon.”

Update (5.50pm BST): Apple’s Cupertino spokesperson called to tell us: “The app has been submitted and it is under review, we’re working with Spotify and we hope to have the app join the more than 65,000 apps on the App Store. We have been in touch with Spotify and have been working with them.” That sounds pretty positive for Spotify.

Original: A month after submitting its proposed iPhone app to Apple’s approval process, Spotify says it’s heard no indication of its chances of success.

Three unrelated apps, mostly remote control apps, that were previously visible in the App Store via a “Spotify” search, became inaccessible via that method overnight Wednesday – but it’s unclear whether that was paving the way for an official Spotify addition, was an anti-Spotify act from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) or was just some bug.

Spotify’s spokesperson told paidContent:UK he didn’t know whether this had any positive bearing, but hoped so: “We’ve still heard nothing back from Apple since they sent some follow-up technical questions a couple of weeks ago.” Update: Both companies later clarified that they had been in constant contact. Apple gave us a no-comment.

It’s by no means Spotify’s only planned business model, but the iPhone app is one of the first big proposed drivers of premium subscriptions for the unlimited music service that is winning rave reviews but over whose chances of monetary success hangs a question mark. The app would be free to download but requires a £0.99-a-day or £9.99-a-month subscription, which also removes ads. Update: Spotify tells us there will also be an annual sub.

Spotify showed off its iPhone app, building buzz amongst hopeful users, before winning Apple’s approval.

Apple has previously disallowed apps it deems to duplicate core functions of its handset, so speculation has centred on whether Apple would regard an unlimited-music app as potentially cannibalising its own iTunes Store’s a la carte downloads, although there’s no proof that this is how it feels.

Universal Music in Sweden is already reported as saying it’s earning more now from Spotify than from iTunes. Some cynics had even wondered whether Apple was delaying Spotify approval to unveil its an unlimited music service of its own in its upcoming September 9 event.

Apple’s spokesperson also referred us to Apple’s recent FCC letter, in which it says 95 percent of applications are approved within 14 days of being submitted”, with each app reviewed by at least two reviewers in a team of over 40, though about 20 percent of new apps are “not approved as originally submitted”.

A second test of this music approval idea is coming – RealNetworks submitted an application for its Rhapsody app, which also requires a premium subscription, this week. Spotify hopes to launch in the U.S. in Q3 or Q4.