Ever since iTunes was introduced in 2001, Apple has continued to tinker with it, updating how it works and how you access and play music. iTunes 11 has introduced some interesting new interface components, but simplicity and elegance within iTunes are only skin-deep. The app remains a complex, frequently unwieldy beast, primarily because it now has to deal with managing all kinds of media on your Mac, including books, TV shows, movies, and apps. At best, you can sometimes hide the clutter, but iTunes is no longer an app with a razor-sharp focus.
The purpose of this group test, then, is to explore alternative apps that focus on the single act of playing music.
Just like you've gotta eat, iPhone and iPad users gotta use apps, but some people don’t venture too far past the packed-in options or maybe whatever’s at the top of the App Store charts. But maybe you’re settling for a plain old cake donut when you could have a mouth-watering strawberry and Nutella crepe — and a much better experience. We set out to replace your everyday apps, the workhorses you rely on. Sample from this buffet, and you won’t save any calories, but you will have an even better time using your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
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Apple's default Music app has always served my listening needs well enough; it's easy to navigate, looks good, and offers fantastic control over my iTunes Match-stored library. But since I downloaded Ecoute, I've been singing a different tune. PixiApps' offering manages to cram an incredible amount of features onto a 4-inch screen without making things feel cramped. A heavy reliance on gestures helps keep the interface clean, and an emphasis on artwork makes my music library come alive.