One of the biggest services online has just teamed up with one of the most popular devices on the planet. Amazon kicked off the month of August by launching a new app for the Apple iPad, an on-the-go version of Amazon Instant Video. Here’s what you can expect from the new app:

  • Users have access to over 120,000 videos through the Amazon Instant Video store, and Amazon Prime members have access to a selection of titles from Prime Instant Video at no extra cost.
  • Purchased and rented videos can be downloaded from “Your Video Library” for offline viewing.
  • Videos can be added to your Watchlist from a PC, Mac, or Kindle Fire for viewing on your iPad.
  • Whispersync technology allows videos to be resumed from your stopping point, even across multiple devices (the Kindle Fire and PS3, Mac and PC computers, and TVs and Blu-ray players with Amazon Whispersync).
  • With a TV Season Pass, new episodes will automatically become available the day after they air on television.

With Netflix’s troubles over the last year, it appears as though Amazon is setting itself to take the streaming video crown. Amazon’s new app has a leg up on Netflix’s service, thanks to the dual options to stream movies or download them. Netflix, and many other video services, currently only offer services that require an Internet connection.

Amazon’s service is also slightly more wallet-friendly, at $79 per year, than Netflix’s $7 per month membership. In addition to streaming and downloadable movies, Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping, discounted overnight shipping, and the ability to borrow some ebooks. A Netflix membership does not come with any additional perks attached to the streaming video service.

Amazon Instant Video may also be a serious competitor for Apple’s iTunes service. Apple does not offer any subscription options, meaning that users are forced to adopt a pay-as-you-go approach to everything. Buying every season of a favorite television show via iTunes will not be a cost-effective option for many users.

The major limitations of Amazon’s new app are its lack of a search feature and the inability to rent or purchase content directly from the app. Instead, users must browse available videos and/or subscribe to new TV seasons via a Mac or PC rather than directly from the iPad. Items can be added to the Watchlist from an iPad, but if a search is required to find them, the search has to be conducted with a different device.

The most impressive thing about the Amazon Instant Video app is the fact that it exists at all – Apple is notorious for rejecting apps from competitors that offer similar services. Does this mean that Apple will start playing nice with the competition in the future?