Apple accrues more streaming video with Amazon Instant on iPad

But the service lacks key functionality

Amazon instant iPad

Apple continues to beef up its streaming media options with the addition of Amazon Instant Video for iPad.

Amazon launched the streaming Instant Video service in February 2011, and since then it's expanded to the Amazon Kindle Fire, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 gaming consoles, Roku, Mac and Windows PCs, smart TVs and Blu-ray players, and now, Apple's iPad.

This announcement comes just a day after Apple covertly employed a new partnership with Hulu to bring the Hulu Plus stream to second- and third-generation Apple TV boxes.

With Netflix and Hulu Plus already available on the iPad, Apple's streaming video offerings are becoming quite robust.

Amazon Instant's offerings

Amazon Instant's expansion to non-Kindle devices comes with plenty of benefits for users.

The iPad app offers several useful features, including a "Your Watchlist" function that allows users to queue up videos to watch or purchase later regardless of whether they own them.

Like other Amazon Instant apps, the iPad version also uses "Whispersync" to remember playback positions across multiple devices.

And naturally, iPad users will have access to their entire library of Amazon Instant Video purchases and subscriptions.

Users with a $79 Amazon Prime membership can access a selection of more than 17,000 free streaming TV show episodes and movies, and an additional 100,000 or so are available for individual purchase.

Amazon Instant's lacking functionality

At the time of its launch in May, the Xbox 360's Amazon Instant Video app didn't allow users to purchase individual titles from within, instead referring them to the service's website.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed today that the iPad app similarly won't allow users to purchase video from with the app, though content purchased from a web browser is instantly added to users' libraries.

"You could use Safari to scan the Instant Video library and then purchase the titles that you want to watch, and then once you purchase them, they'll automatically go into the app," the spokesperson told TechRadar.

"You can't actually purchase via the app," the spokesperson emphasized, but "there's not a step in between purchasing and it getting to the app, so once you purchase, it'll just automatically be there."

There's no word on whether Amazon plans to add that functionality, but even with this slightly annoying extra step, Amazon Instant is surely robust enough to offer a decent alternative to Netflix and Hulu Plus.