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UPDATE: Annnd the Spotify iPad app is live in the iTunes store now.

We’ve waited two and a half years for an official Spotify iPad app, but now it’s finally here. Starting today, it’s rolling out worldwide, complete with Retina Display support and a few extra skills missing from the iPhone version. Ahead of release, Gustav Söderström, Spotify’s Chief Product Officer, showed us what’s new.

First off, you’ll be relieved to know that the Spotify iPad isn’t merely the iPhone app writ large: the Swedish company knows that people use iPads differently and has designed it accordingly.

“We think you probably use your iPad more probably at home on a couch, with Wi-Fi,” Söderström told Electricpig in a briefing this morning. “We try to adapt for that to make it much easier to browse through this big, big catalogue.”

Söderström demonstrated how the new user interface works: it’s a bit like a cross between Twitter’s official iPad app, with overlapping panes showing your navigation and how to swipe back, and Facebook’s with tabs on the lefthand side.

The What’s New section takes full advantage of the iPad’s screen size, with a layout reminiscent of iTunes and the App Store on iPad, and AirPlay streaming options are prominent throughout, as Spotify figures that many people will use the iPad as a remote control, rather than with headphones in.

To that end, the Spotify iPad app also supports the company’s 320Kbps “extreme” quality bitrate for streaming and offline syncing, as well as a couple of other desktop tricks: crossfade and gapless playback, which were added to the PC and Mac apps back in February, and make for a much smoother party listening experience.

The desktop feature that’s still missing however is Spotify app support, which is a real shame – Söderström wouldn’t say when or if they’ll come to the Spotify iPad app.

We also asked Söderström if the Spotify iPad app might form the basis for an equivalent Android tablet experience – last month saw the release of a new Android mobile app updated to fit Android 4.0 design guidelines – but he declined to comment.

“We are always working on lots and lots of stuff and we’ll let you know as soon as there is something to show,” he said. “You’ll have to stay tuned.”

Better late than never, we hope.

The Spotify iPad app is out today on the iTunes App Store, free for Premium subscribers, and we’ve confirmed that it will run on all three generations of iPad.

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