Apple’s iPod app is handy and all. I mean, it’s right there in your home row, but I’ve never been a fan of its interface. It insists upon giving me Podcast and Videos icons, which I never use, pushing more important options such as Artists and Songs into a submenu. But the iPod app isn’t the only way to access your music, thankfully. You’ve also got apps such as Harman’s JBL OnBeat, which gives you quicker access to your actual music, and adds a few other nice features, as well.
What is it?
At its most basic, JBL OnBeat is a music player. It takes much of its interface queues from Apple’s iPod app, but cleans them up a bit. The bottom icon row provides one tap access to your playlists, albums, artists and compilations, doing away with items such podcasts and videos. This is because JBL OnBeat is strictly about the music…and the waking up, I suppose. It also features an alarm clock.
How does it work?
The music portion works much like you’d expect (and want) on an Apple device. When you first launch it, you’ll see a track displayed with the volume slider and play, rewind and fast forward buttons. The track artwork is framed in a CD jewel case, which is kind of cool, but it’d be even sweeter if you could change this to look like a shrinkwrapped LP. Along with the standard playback buttons, you’ve got your shuffle, replay and AirPlay icons, giving you pretty much everything need right there on the first screen.
Tap the list icon, and you’re taken to the standard iPod app song listing, which you can sort by the methods listed above (see top image). Tap the more icon here, and you also get access to composers, genres and songs. Tap the plus button next to any of the songs and you can create a playlist on the fly.
At the bottom of the main interface are four dots which you can tap to access the clock and a couple of ads. The clock app can be displayed in digital or a rather cool (but mostly unreadable) analog form (right image just above), and you can enable auto-lock and adjust the brightness. You can also set multiple alarms, each with its own snooze settings and activation days. Oddly, you have to individually select on which days of the week the alarm will sound (there’s no one tap option for weekdays or weekends), and you can’t assign songs to the alarms, which seems like an obvious misstep.
Is it contagious?
If you have a JBL OnBeat speaker dock, then yes, absolutely. Without one, it would depend upon how happy you are with Apple’s iPod app. I do prefer JBL’s OnBeat, but that’s mainly because it does away with options I’m not likely to use, and instead focuses solely on the music. The alarm clock app is fine—certainly a better option for multiple alarms than Apple’s Clock app—but again, I think it’s more for the JBL speaker dock owners.
Regardless, the JBL OnBeat app is free, so you should certainly take a look to see which of your apps it may replace.
Full Disclosure: JBL is an advertiser with Appletell.