Music app

Don’t like the Music app on the iPad? Here are two alternatives

Bongiovi DPS is a great music app for iPad and iPhone.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney / CNET

Not a fan of Apple’s iPad Music app with its inconvenient interface and tiny controls? Relief is at your fingertips! Here are two iOS music players that offer some smart advantages over the built-in app.

Bongiovi DPS

Designed by Bongiovi Acoustics, the free Bongiovi DPS app offers a clean interface and user-friendly controls.

The app introduces you to the usual ways to access your music – albums, artists, playlists, genres, podcasts, audiobooks – all icons are easily accessible from the home screen. Tapping on a particular icon, such as albums, brings up a list of all albums. Tapping on an album shows you all the tracks and their durations. And from there you can tap any track to increase the music.

By default, the app fills the screen with a large album art. But you can tap a track button in the upper right corner to see all the track names with artist, album, and time, making it easy to jump from one song to another. The playback screen displays the usual buttons and controls large enough to be easily touched, unlike the smaller ones in the iPad Music app. You can also drag the screen to switch between tracks.

Bongiovi DPS even increases the sound quality. You can configure certain audio profiles for your music, choosing from specific branded headphones, built-in speakers, external speakers, and docking stations. Each profile is meant to give the music a bit of punch by associating it with a specific device. Some profiles are accessible free of charge; others require an upgrade to the paid version of the app.

After selecting a profile, a B button on the play screen allows you to increase the volume and bass of your current song. Enabling this option increased both the volume and the quality of the music. So, this advantage alone makes Bongiovi DPS a better choice than the iPad Music app.

The basic Bongiovi app is free but has advertising at the bottom, which I found to be quite inconspicuous. But if you want an ad-free experience and the extra audio profiles, you’ll have to shell out $ 2.99 for the upgrade. Bongiovi DPS is also available for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Since downloading Bongiovi DPS, I have switched to it as my primary music app. I love the interface, the sound, and the ability to access podcasts and audiobooks as well as albums. This app is a winner for me.

Track 8's music app gives the iPad a Metro touch.
Track 8’s music app gives the iPad a Metro touch.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney / CNET

Track 8

Prepared by Ender Labs, Track 8 offers a Metro touch by borrowing the look and feel of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Metro music player.

The Home screen offers options for artists, albums, and playlists. You can also swipe the screen to see your recent history and most played albums. Tapping on an album’s thumbnail displays a list of its tracks. Tapping on any track starts the music.

The game screen is well laid out. It displays the album art and a list of all songs, so you can easily switch between tracks without having to switch screens. The usual play, pause, rewind, and forward buttons are included. The scroll bars for volume and track placement are a bit small but still quite usable. My only gripe here is that you can’t see the length of a track until you actually start playing it, but it’s a little minor baffle.

You can also search for a particular track. By tapping the search icon, you can enter the first few characters of a song, track 8 sounding with a list of suggestions.

While I’m still unsure of what Metro looks and feels like, I love the design of this app.

It seems well suited for a tablet, offering a smooth tactile approach. By default, the actual artist appears in the background of an album. You can also change the background colors and wallpaper.

Track 8 provides access only to your albums, not your podcasts or other types of audio. But you can create a playlist of podcasts and other audio content in iTunes, and the app will retrieve them.

Overall, Track 8 is clean and straightforward and a nice change of pace from other complicated music players. The app will set you back $ 1.99.

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