Which music player would you rather use on your iPad: Apple's updated Music app, on the left, or Bloom's Planetary, on the right, which presents your music collection as space?
Sure, Planetary for iPad (free) is pretty, but its design actually makes a fair amount of sense. Your music collection is the universe (obviously); galaxies are formed by playlists or the letters of the alphabet; albums are suns; and songs are planets. Or at least that's how it looks to us. The interface is reminiscent of the main view from Bjork's Biophilia app album.
A swipe of the finger sends the view into rotation -- and speaking of the view, it's beautiful. The designers at Bloom Industries (not to be confused with Bloom the generative music app from Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers) clearly spent a lot of time on the graphics for Planetary. When a planet blocks a sun, the lighting reacts accordingly, and the latest version, released in September, includes "new galaxy detail, solar flares, eclipses, atmospheric glow, accretion disks and much more fine detail at planet and moon level."
However, as a music player, Planetary leaves out several key features.
There's no AirPlay support, that we could find, which is an astounding omission from any iOS music player. "It looks incredible when you hook your iPad 2 up to a big HDTV or projector using the HDMI accessory," reads Bloom's description. You mean, like, using an actual wire? It's a Thomas Edison solution to a Steve Jobs problem.
Plus, there's no intelligent filtering. You know how some music player apps use spacial relationships to examine the relationships between artists, and provide recommendations? Not this one -- it's artists, albums, and playlists only.
Also, it crashed a couple of times, which generally doesn't happen with universes (or music players).
Still, it sure is pretty -- and it's free.
Planetary is an all-new, stunningly beautiful way to explore your music collection, available only on iPad. Fly through a 3D universe dynamically created by information about the recording artists you love. Visit planets that represent your favorite albums and control the playback of your music on iPad by browsing and selecting astronomical objects.
Planetary is just the sort of science fiction experience you expect when using an object from the future like iPad. You'll want to show your friends this beautiful app. We've made it even easier to share Planetary at home; it looks incredible when you hook your iPad 2 up to a big HDTV or projector using the HDMI accessory.
Planetary is the first of a new type of visual discovery app produced by Bloom Studio. In the coming months, we'll be releasing an ongoing stream of apps that let you explore and participate in social networks, video streaming services, and location-based applications in a whole new way! We're building new ways to see and communicate.