Remember how Apple and Starbucks announced their partnership to sell music to Apple customers through the eighty 'Bucks locations per square city block? Well, the rollouts have begun, and as of today iPhone, iPod touch, and iTunes users can roll into just about any Starbucks in Seattle, New York, and now the SF bay area -- all in all about 800-900 spots -- and see what's playing over Starbucks radio and download a bunch of Starbucks-programmed music. We got a chance to sit down with Apple and Starbucks folks at a participating location in downtown San Francisco, here's what we learned:
- Connecting iTunes through Starbucks is eminently simple: connect to the T-Mobile AP. That's it. It's all done behind the paywall, so you don't have to fork out $10 to get online to use the service. (You can also visit apple.com behind the paywall, but not .Mac services.)
- As soon as you connect to the Starbucks T-Mobile AP with your iPhone / iPod touch / desktop machine running iTunes, you'll see Starbucks music show up in your iTunes Store interface. (Hit the gallery to see how it works.)
- Downloading a track was reasonably fast, but the WiFi kept dropping with both our iPhone and MacBook Pro, leading us to believe there were some issues with the T-Mo hotspot. The download recovered fine through multiple disconnections, but it took us a little over 7 minutes to grab a single 8.5MB iTunes Plus track -- so be careful before grabbing an entire album.