Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Music App Needs An Overhaul

I am a loyal Apple Music subscriber. Yes, I do have occasional gripes with the service, but for the most part, it gets the job done. I think the general rule of thumb is if you use iOS, use Apple Music. Otherwise, use Spotify. There are some key differences in the services, but most people will not notice them. The biggest difference between the two that everyone will notice is design.

Apple Music has this weird pink and white blend while Spotify has their iconic green and black design. I genuinely cannot figure out how Apple thought this design was good, nor how they haven't fixed it yet. The previous design was so much better, but was so short-lived (I think it lasted about two years). Most people have moved on to using darker primary colors with light accents. It's modern and so much easier on the eyes. I think a black and blue color scheme would work way better, blue as a subtle nod to the old iTunes logo. I would've said orange, since it references the old Music icon pre-iOS 7, but black and orange gives off a weird Halloween vibe.

Aside from this, a new Music app should revolve around a proper centralized "start screen." It should be modular, like an Apple Watch watch face (I think several apps could benefit from this idea). When I open the Music app, show me this page. It will have a row of music that I have picked myself. This row can consist of playlists, albums, artists, and so on. Think of it as a quick access area. Another row will have recently played music. Then, an audio source row. This row has all audio devices my iPhone can AirPlay to. Apple TVs, Smart TVs, HomePods, Amazon Echos, AirPods, Beats, the iPhone's speaker, and so on. This list changes based on what devices are powered on, nearby, and available. A checkmark appears on the audio source that will play music if you tap a song. Finally, a row for Apple's curated playlists. These can cycle throughout the day. Road-trip playlists, workout playlists, and so on.

You may notice some of these elements are similar to the "For You" tab in Apple Music, but that tab feels so static. It's not really "for me." It's one interface for every user. Yes, the music that appears is different, but not everyone cares about Artist Spotlights or "Heavy Rotation." The point with my idea is that it's fully customizable. You can add and remove different rows at a whim. What I described was just an example, but I would imagine there being way more rows to pick and choose from.

In short, my ideas may not be for everyone. But, I do believe that Apple Music and its users would greatly benefit from a major overhaul to the design and interface of the Music app. Hopefully, we get some news like this for iOS 13 at WWDC this year.

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