If you’ve spent many a night lamenting the lack of true cover flow on the iPad—that’d be the eye-candy included in iTunes whereby your album covers float past like levitating LPs—it’s time to stem those tears and head to the AppStore: Album Flow, by developer Imre Katai, has everything you need to scratch that musical itch.
If you’ve spent much time with Apple’s stock iPod app for the iPad, you’ll notice one obviously bizarre omission: There’s no cover flow, as in both the iPhone and iTunes for desktop. Considering the iPad’s larger screen size and incredible resolution, this seems like a real spanner in the gears. Thankfully, Album Flow has taken it upon itself to cure Apple’s oversights, bringing full cover flow style music to your iPad at long last.
Album Flow’s main draw is, of course, its excellent album art, so we’ll start there. All of your albums are arranged along the bottom, and look exactly as you’d like them to. Album art is crisp, with the current album enlarged and centered while the others are tilted to the side. You can sort the cover flow via artist and album, but if that still doesn’t do it for you, you’re welcome to use the included search bar to look for individual tracks. Once selected, tracks from each album are shown along the top left, while Album Flow’s media player sits at the top right. Playback within the app is extremely simple, and offers all the functionality you’d expect: There are buttons to loop, skip, pause, and shuffle tracks, while sliders for volume and song location sit nearby. It’s simple, familiar, and it works like a charm.
As stated, Album Flow’s design is extremely easy to use, and will be intuitive to anyone with previous media player experience. The cover flow itself looks great here, and I really appreciated the reflective art style. The developer has done a great job arranging the meatier elements, like track selection and playback, so that each is well within reach.
The background and font were horrendous when first booted, which put me off a bit—that is until I realized they could be changed. Using the app’s settings, everything from the background to Album Flow’s font can be altered to match your liking, including the addition of custom images. I was very impressed with the amount of personalization offered, especially considering how little I liked the default look.
Album Flow is currently at $2.99 in the AppStore, which I felt was slightly high. However, as this is a full replacement for the stock iPod, the price may be warranted. I would have liked to see more search options (genre, composer, etc.) but small gripes aside, Album Flow offers everything the default music player has been lacking, and will not disappoint.
Album Flow iPad app requires iOS 4.2. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
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