Ecoute ($2.99) by PixiApps will be the only music player you need on your iPhone.
If you are using OS X (and really, why wouldn’t you be at this point?), then you are probably familiar with Ecoute for Mac. It’s a simple music player that can pull your media library from iTunes, and allows you to play your music without the bloat of iTunes. If you haven’t tried it yet, there is a demo on the website, and you can pick up the full version for only $7.99 from the Mac App Store. But today, the headline is the much-anticipated iPhone version of Ecoute, which is now available.
I’ll get right down to it — this is one of the most beautiful music player apps that you can buy in the App Store. Everything about this app is downright stunning — from the brushed metal buttons to the soft glow of a selected tab, to the charming little square icons that represent your music collection, all the way down to the little bubble that appears for the audio scrubber. Ecoute for iOS is literally made with luscious pixels that ooze with detail. If there was an iOS app beauty pageant, then this thing would be one of the finalists, I’m sure.
So let’s get to the functionality of the app. Ecoute will utilize the music (and podcasts) that you already have on your iPhone. So if you’re solely using something like Spotify or Rdio, then you won’t be able to get much use out of this app.
The main screen of Ecoute will feature your music, with different sections at the top. You can browse your media by Artist, Albums, Songs, Genres, or Genius, if you are using the Genius Mixes feature in iTunes. Whenever your peruse for something to listen to in the app, you will love going through the cute mini album covers. There is also a nifty Search feature, which will search in real-time through both artist names and song titles.
As you find something to listen to, give it a tap and it will show off a perfectly fluid animation to show you more albums, or you will get a popup with all of the songs. Once you select something to play through Ecoute, you’ll see the “Now Playing” information displayed at the bottom of the app. Tap on it and it will show you a subtle audio scrubber with bubble containing the elapsed time, along with the repeat, shuffle, and pause buttons. You can even swipe on the track info to go to the previous or next track.
I bet you’re thinking, “The playback section is just that small strip?” Of course not! Give your iPhone screen a little swipe from the bottom-up and the full media player section will slide in like a card. You’re able to view full album art (also displayed on lock screen), have larger playback buttons, and even AirPlay control. Wondering how to access the audio scrubber again? Touch the track info and it will pop up for you to drag. Accessing the song list can be done by tapping on the button in the top right corner, which will then “flip” the art to show the song titles. To go back to the main view and hide this playback card, just swipe from top to bottom.
Ecoute for iOS also features the ability to scrobble your plays directly to Last.fm, or you can tweet what you are #nowplaying using native iOS 5 Twitter integration.
Background playback is supported, although if you view the audio playback in the multitasking tray, it will show that the Music.app is playing. It seems that Ecoute is only serving as a front-end for Music.app, which I found a bit disappointing. I’d rather have the controls for Ecoute and not deal with Music.app at all, but it isn’t a big deal.
Regardless, if you listen to local media stored on your iPhone, then this is definitely the music player for you. It’s downright gorgeous design with lush pixels was absolutely worth the excruciatingly long wait.