June 29, 2011 at 3:44 pm

TuneControl’s Car Music Player Exudes Retro Cool

tunecontrol best iphone apps for not crashing your car Talk about simple. TuneControl for iPhone, designed for music fans who find themselves behind the wheel of a (possibly large) automobile, displays track information in a large, easy-to-read text format.

This design aesthetic shares more with a retro film slate than your typical music player. (Film slates are those black and white clapperboards most associated with the words “marker” and “action.”)

“Simple and straightforward” sometimes translates to elegant; we love the practical layout of this player, which lays out lots of helpful options so that they’re accessible with a glance.

TuneControl hides a little car-shaped icon towards the bottom right of the screen, which could probably stand to be a little bigger. Selecting this option enables the gesture controlled Travel Mode and further simplifies the UI, setting artist and song title info as scrolling marquees while leaving the better half of the screen blank for the aforementioned gesture controls (this area can also display album art.)

The gestures are a bit different in this app compared to the others we’ve seen, which could be more or less intuitive depending on what you expect. Swiping to the left brings up the next track, while a swipe to the right takes you to the previous one. While this is how things work in the real world (we drag things that we want towards us), it’s the opposite of how most other swipe controls operate.

Despite its straight-forward user interface, TuneControl offers tasteful customization options. Users can assign any image as semitransparent wallpaper and change color options and border effects, though if the goal is readability for car operation, we recommend the default black-on-white look.

The only annoying glitch that we found with this app came with multitasking. While returning to the home screen will keep music playing in the background, reopening the app causes a momentary pause before playback resumes (an issue we didn’t come across in other multitasking enabled players we tested.) If its developer fixes this quirk, TuneControl’s retro layout and elegant controls will do no wrong.