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Any computer task—even one as enjoyable as rockin’ out to some tunes—can get a little dull. Enter MiniTune, a desktop remote app for iTunes. With it, you can control music playback with a little extra flair while adding some cool features to your musical routine.
MiniTune puts a CD jewel case on your Desktop. Play any audio file in iTunes, and its artwork appears in the MiniTune window above the current album and track name. Mouse over the window to make volume and playback controls appear. Hover your cursor over a corner, and you’ll see a menu that lets you choose from speakers connected to your Mac for output. Alas, you can’t pick speakers connected by AirPlay. But that’s not MiniTune’s only limitation. Strangely, MiniTune’s window can’t be minimized, but to reduce clutter, you can set it to remain behind other apps, and make current album art appear in MiniTune’s Dock icon. Once you start listening to music, MiniTune won’t let you select a new album or playlist, although it’s easy enough—if a little clunky—to double-click its window to call up iTunes and pick something different.
The jewel case is useful again.
The iTunes playback controls on your Apple keyboard can skip among songs in a playlist, or you can record your own MiniTune-specific keyboard shortcuts (however, we had to quit MiniTune to free up customized keys for other apps, even after deactivating shortcuts in Preferences). With Growl installed, MiniTune can display an alert as new tracks start playing, and optional integration with the Last.fm music recommendation service syncs the songs you listen to through MiniTune with your Last.fm account.
The bottom line. MiniTune isn’t exactly essential, but it’s a slick way to control your music library, especially if you don’t jump between albums or playlists very much.
Mac OS 10.6 or later
Livens up Desktop with album art. Can permanently hide behind other windows. Growl and Last.fm integration.
Can’t change playlists without switching to iTunes. Can’t choose AirPlay devices for output. Keyboard shortcuts linger after deactivation.