Everyone knows that Apple leads and others follow, right? It’s iOS that people are copying elsewhere. No-one would ever dream of making a music player for iOS that uses the same UI as Microsoft’s Metro) mobile OS design language. Would they? Wait – would they?
Someone has dreamt it. And built it. And it’s here, for iPad, for two dollars. It’s called Track 8.
And here’s the most terrifying thing about it: it’s actually pretty good.
The Metro UI is here in all its hanging-off-the-edge-of-your-screen glory. You pan and swipe your way through various views of your iPad’s music collection, and everything snappy and makes perfect sense. You can browse alphabetically, by artist, by playlist, whatever. I particularly like the emphasis on playing albums – it’s so easy to swipe your way to an album and start playing it. (I’m showing my age here, I know, but I still much prefer albums to playlists. Wait, I can hear a phone ringing. I think it’s the 1980s calling. Excuse me.)
Here’s a promo vid:
So Track 8 does a great job of playing your music. What can’t it do? Well, it can’t edit or create new playlists on the fly. There’s no access to a music store, or to streaming songs from iTunes Match.
But it looks great. So much better than the 70s hi-fi look of Apple’s own Music app for iPad, which causes me to grind my teeth every time I see it.
Things look even better because Track 8 lets you select background wallpapers and accent colors. It even automatically downloads additional background images to display behind album player views while you’re listening – a really nice touch. I love the way it provides instant access to new stuff, to the stuff you listen to most, and to recently played stuff. There’s lots to admire here.
What’s most astonishing of all, though, is that this is a serious effort to put the boot on the other foot. It’s the first Metro-styled app to find its way on to iOS, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last (unless the Powers That Be at either Apple or Microsoft or both have panic attacks when they realize what’s going on, and clamp down on it quickly).
If you’re enough of an Apple fan to shiver at the thought of allowing Metro style software on your iPad, you might want to give this one a miss.
But if all that matters to you is the music, and finding a way to play it that’s clean and fast and helpful… well, this is one bit of Microsoft worth your time.
Pro: A sleek, decent music player. A slice of Metro on your iPad.
Con: OMG, a slice of Metro on your iPad!