In my experience, new iOS applications fall into one of a number of categories. There are “Wow” apps; these are the ones that are released into the iTunes App Store that blow you away from the very start. There are “Ow!” apps; these are the ones that are released into the iTunes App Store, and you wonder how they ever got through Apple’s screening process in the first place. Then there are “Not quite now” apps; these are the applications that show a great deal of promise, but are not quite there… yet. You want to keep them on your device because you know that they’ll be updated, and it’s abundantly clear that when the updates come the application will move from “Not yet now” to “Wow!!”.
The application I want to look at briefly today falls into the third and final category. It works well enough right now, but isn’t quite there. It’s potential is huge though, and once an update or two is let loose, I think this will be one of the apps you are definitely going to want to have on your device and use all the time. Why am I so optimistic? Because this app does something that is desperately needed – it manipulates the so-so sound of the music player on the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, and it actually helps you get good sound out of the devices. REALLY good sound.
The app is MyTunes, and it is one to watch.
MyTunes comes from SRS Labs, makers of my favorite iTunes desktop plug in. The application becomes your new music player on your device and allows you to adjust the music in a number of different ways. I’ll talk about some of the initial issues with it, but first let’s see what the company has to say about it and take a quick tour …
Fall in love with your music library all over again, thanks to the new MyTunes Media Player App for iPhone® and iPod®
MyTunes seamlessly integrates with your iTunes library and offers an array of features that allow you to customize your music in ways iTunes can’t. From cool DJ transitions and superior search menus to extra large “driving” skins and enhanced audio processing, MyTunes is a must have media player app for audio enthusiasts!
Intuitive, cutting edge interface
WOW HD audio processing for renewed clarity, higher highs and lower lows
Seamless integration with iTunes
DJ Style translations: repeat, crossfade, beat match, and more
Built-in 3-band and 10-band EQ with preset modes
Extra large “driving” skins…and more!
When you load the application it offers to give songs, artist, playlists or groups.
In other words, if you have used the music player on any iOS device it will immediately be familiar.
The overlay lets you control specifics like shuffle, repeat etc. It is a nice music player that, were it not a bit on the slow side, could easily replace the stock iOS player.
Sure, from here you can listen to your music without making any adjustments, but why would you want to do that when you can enhance the audio significantly?
First you tell the app where you are using the device at the time.
Are you in the car, listening to speakers, or do you have a headset on? Each choice is available or you can even simply tell the app you are using the built-in speaker.
The choice selection will immediately impact the specific audio settings, but it gets more specific than that. If you tell the app you are listening to headphones, you’ll then need to tell it if you are using in-ear, on near or over the ear headphones. Each selection will again adjust the sound settings. Similarly, if you tell the app you are listening to speakers it will “ask” the size of the speakers and adjust the music accordingly.
Once the music is going, you get the album art but can still see the top-level selections that are available.
When you tap the SRS logo (in the upped right), it turns the music adjustments on and off. It also lets you move into the more specific areas of adjustment.
You can use the “simple” equalization settings and simple adjust the bass, mids and treble.
If you want more control you can get a full equalizer that you can tweak to your heart’s delight.
And if you are feeling lazy, you can use the graphical equalizer to pick the exact sound you want.
There are a ton of different settings from which to choose, and it is really worth taking the time to become familiar with them all. Why? Because the adjustments the app offers make a HUGE difference in the sound coming from your iOS device. In fact, I would go so far as to say that until you use the app for a bit, you won’t realize just how bad the untouched sound coming from your iOS device really is. Yes, when you get the settings right the difference is HUGE!
So why is it that I call this a “not quite now” app? A few things get in the way of it being an actual “wow” app. First, it takes way too long to start up initially, and the interface as you go from one screen to the next can be exceptionally laggy. In an app with so many different settings, this can quickly become an issue. In addition, I had the app lock up or crash on me a few times. I expect all of these issues to be resolved by the first or second update, so I will be keeping the app on my devices and waiting for the update notice in the App Store app.
Finally there is the issue of price. The app is a free download, and you can use the premium features for 10 minutes in a 24 hour period. That really just lets you see if the app’s enhanced features are worth the $4.99 it currently costs to unlock them; normally the cost is $9.99 but it is on sale.
THEN there is the fact that this unlocking is PER device rather than per account. That means it would cost me $15 to unlock the app on all three device I use, and an extra $4.99 or $9.99 each time I upgrade one of them. I know I’m not the norm, but I do know a lot of people who have an iPhone and an iPad and the app will cost them $4.99*2 or $9.99*2, and that is a bit more than I expect they will be willing to pay. It turns out that once you unlock the app on one device it will become unlocked on other devices on your account. BUT! There is no indication of this until you actually go to make the purchase once again on a second device. I have suggested to the dev team that they make this clearer and I hope that will happen. Regardless, for $5 for all you devices this is a steal and it will only become better with time.
MSRP: Free for basic features; $9.99 to unlock premium features but on sale for $4.99
What I Like: Does amazing things to the music comes from your iOS device; Lets you tweak as much or as little as you want
What Needs Improvement: Buggy and slow in this initial release;
Unlock appears to be per device not account, and it will get pricey quickly if there are more than one iOS device per account Unlock is not per device but this is unclear until you actually go to repurchase the unlock code.