Since the iPad's launch, customers have been able to stream movies from that company's Watch Instantly service using the . Netflix has now made the app universal, so iPhone and iPod touch owners can join their iPad-wielding compatriots in streaming movies to their iOS devices.
Unfortunately, as with the iPad version of the app, Netflix isn't a perfect iOS citizen. As my friend Dan Moren, the app appears to rely on HTML5 for most of its interface - meaning, the app is essentially a view onto a Web page. That's acceptable, but it means that familiar interactions like scrolling through lists and tapping buttons don't feel quite as smooth as they would in a traditional, fully native iPhone app.
That said, I tapped play on a movie, and within seconds it started streaming in excellent quality on my iPhone via Wi-Fi. When I tested it on my 3G connection, Netflix took a bit longer to start streaming, but the quality was still perfectly acceptable.
Worth noting, though, is that the Netflix app isn't optimized for iOS 4; if you switch to another app and then return to Netflix, the app doesn't pick up where you left off in your movie - you must navigate back to the film in question first. In addition, the app lacks any means of managing your DVD queue.
Still - streaming movies! On your iPhone! The coolness factor here is off the charts.