Netflix (s NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings made a surprise appearance during Steve Jobs’ WWDC (s AAPL) keynote today, announcing that the company service is rolling out a free iPhone app by this summer. iPhone and iPod touch users will be able to access Netflix’s Watch Instantly service directly via their device of choice, complete with access to their Instant Queue.
The Netflix iPhone App will also feature search functionality, making it possible to access the entire Watch Instantly catalog. Hastings said the experience would essentially be the same as on your HDTV or your laptop. In fact, users will be able to pause their live streaming on devices like the iPad and resume the stream on the iPhone.
Hastings demonstrated streaming through the iPhone app with Indie documentary Art and Copy, saying that Netflix would take advantage of HTTP adaptive bitrate streaming, which makes it easier to adapt to different bandwidth constraints.
iPhone users will be happy to know that Netflix will also allow them to stream movies via 3G — a feature that could cause some new customers to quickly eat through their bandwidth, which has been restricted to 2GB per month ever since AT&T changed its bandwidth plans last week.
Related content on GigaOM Pro: Will Metered Mobile Data Slow the App Market’s Growth? (subscription required)