BBC has just launched its new iPlayer Radio desktop site, with the accompanying app set to arrive in the Apple App store by tomorrow morning. The app is an entirely separate experience to the iPlayer video counterpart and is built from the ground up to create the best possible radio listening experience.
Fire up the application and you are given a radio station select dial - not unlike that of the old dial on a phone or a tuning nob on a radio. Drag the dial round, tap a station and start listening. Each station has its own set of options, designed to bring you more than just radio playback.
Swipe up and these options are revealed, and vary by station. Video is present on most stations and offer little snippets of items you might typical find on your selected radio channel. Radio 1, for example, had clips of One Direction to choose from.
The player will also list what songs you are currently listening to, as well as those you might have previously heard. There is no live rewind capability, so don't expect to use it as a crafty way to listen to free music on repeat.
Search has also been given a really thorough going over. There is the ability to search radio programmes by category as well by programme name.
A podcast tab is also present, so you can browse through each podcast via station. The BBC says there is no ability to download locally yet, but it hopes that, as with the video iPlayer, programmes will become downloadable in future.
Finally the app features a built-in alarm clock designed to allow you to fall asleep and wake up listening to the radio. You simply pick a station, set a time, and let the app do the rest. You can also choose for it to go to sleep after a certain period of time, so you can fall asleep with the radio on. A large-screen clock and brightness shortcut within the alarm section completes the app.
All in all, really a great app from the BBC. Shame about the lack of Android right now, but we are told it is coming. If you do fancy a dedicated radio app on Android, there is the likes of RadioPlayer, which launched last week. Although not all the functions are there, you do get a lot of what the iPlayer app offers, including search and local radio browsing.
There is also no dedicated iPad app, with the BBC choosing instead to use the iPhone app and expand it. Thankfully, everything works over 3G. The new app should be going live in the App Store over the course of today, and will be live everywhere by tomorrow morning.