June 29, 2011 at 10:54 am

Don’t Get Played By iSwipe’s Car Music Player

The whole point of gesture-controlled music apps is that they’re supposed to let drivers and other people who should really be focusing on something else play music on an iPhone or iPod Touch at least slightly more safely than they would with the iPhone’s own iPod app.

So why does iSwipe employ such tiny, scrolling text? It’s a dealbreaker — but wait, there’s more.

The Gesture Trail feature matches your finger motion with a spray paint effect, but it’s 10 percent cool and 90 percent cheesy, cheapening the look of the already-basic iSwipe (by Dave DeLong, $2) –which also includes visual ads. You can turn off the spraypaint in the Settings menu, but not so with the rotating album art that’s supposed to indicate that Repeat Mode is activated (see screenshot).

As with the spraypaint, we found this annoying, and turning it on by swiping a circle often triggering a big parabolic volume change, and even then, the songs wouldn’t repeat. We couldn’t get songs to repeat whether the album art was spinning, stuck upside-down, or sideways — all of which happened at some point, though spinning is the only intentional feature.

Even choosing songs is a pain. After you’ve selected your tracks, any return to the library to add more songs will overwrite previous selections instead of adding to the bottom of the queue. And did we mention there’s no way to view your playlist once it’s playing?

Finally, we also take exception to seeing Apple iAds in a two dollar player. There is no option to turn them off, and we’ve seen better apps that cost two dollars less.