Dear Apple: Please Make the iPhone’s Native Interface Like the Remote App.
by Tom Reestman
But instead of telling you how great it is I’d rather take the time to request that Apple add the Remote app’s interface improvements to the iPhone’s native iPod interface. In my opinion, the native iPod interface on the iPhone/iPod touch no longer makes it the best iPod ever. The Remote app’s interface supersedes it. Let’s take a look.
Below are listings of playlists from the native interface (top) and the Remote app:
The latter is more useful. Not only because it displays the number of items in each playlist, but also because it displays the lists’ icons. Currently, when you sync a playlist to an iPod it doesn’t retain the icon for being a folder, smart playlist, etc., but I find it useful to know this information.
Below is a song listing for a selected playlist in each interface:
What a difference. Two changes make the latter much more useful.
- The artist is listed below each song. This is huge for me when I’m in a playlist and want to scroll to a specific artist. The way I do it now is by recognizing artist’s song names to see where I am in the alphabet, which is cumbersome.
- There is a line of dots along the right side for quick scrolling. You can scroll the usual way, of course, but now can also run your finger up and down this line for rapid movement. Wonderful!
Some of my playlists are quite large, and these easier methods to keep track of the artists and scroll in a playlist are incredibly useful to me.
There’s another great new interface improvment in the Remote app:
Search! I’d love to have this on the iPhone right now. Hit the button, type in your artist, song, or whatever and you get the same live updates as you do in iTunes on the computer:
I strongly suspect these interface improvements are because the Remote app was designed to navigate an entire iTunes library. The native interface would fall well short of that function for anyone with even a moderately-sized library. In other words, the improvements were necessary to make the Remote app a lot more useful than it would have otherwise been.
However, having created these interface improvements, I hope Apple brings them to the native interface as well. My iPhone has only 750 songs (8 GB, but I use high-quality encoding for larger files) and I could still make full use of these. I’m already frustrated by their absence when using the iPhone’s native controls. And if I hold out for a 32GB iPhone — which I’d like to do — I’ll have four times the music and the current interface will be even more of a hindrance.
Truth is, after using the Remote app for only two weeks the iPhone’s native media interface looks almost primitive to me.