Yesterday, Bloom launched Planetary. As I don’t have an iPad, I can’t really comment on it, but it did remind me of one of the better talks I went to at SXSWi, Finding Music With Pictures. For an hour, Paul Lamere of Echo Nest went through a variety of music visualisations and players, ending with a call to arms- music players shouldn’t look like spreadsheets. Planetary definitely doesn’t.
The thing is, a few years ago, this ambition might have seemed impossible to achieve: after all, on the desktop, iTunes was dominant, and nobody was going to choose an alternative UI, especially given the pain of reconstructing their photo library for it. Meanwhile, the iPod was a closed device.
Now, though, iOS offers an API for apps like Planetary that’s good enough to allow them to be built (both with access to the device’s music library and play/pause controls). There’s also a playfulness - and immersiveness - to phones and tablets that seems more likely to encourage use than the same app in a windowed UI.