Hey Apple Music, what if…

Matt Souza
Oct 30, 2017 · 5 min read

For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself as the ultimate Apple fan boy. Having said that, I can’t help but sometimes wonder, “why did the designers over at Apple not think of this?” or “if they did, why did they decide not to go this route? It was then when I decided to take a stab at the many what if’s of the Apple Music in my head. Hear me out…


After recently subscribing to Apple Music, I’ve gotten extremely trigger happy and added almost every single song I listened to or came across (special thanks to Shazam+Apple Music integration). After a while, my list got a bit lengthy and hard to sort through to find that one great song I want to hear.

Whenever listening to a song and browsing through the remaining of the app looking for the next best jam, it often bugged me how the minimized player view took in-part a large portion of my viewport, while providing little to no value. I mean 9/10 times I knew the title of the song I was playing.

I hated having to maximize the “Now Playing” modal in order to scrub forward or backwards to my favorite part of a song. While it’s nice to be able to pause and skip a track, why can’t I replay a it? Plus, I wondered where did the time progress view from previous iOS versions go? Where I could tell how much longer until the song ended. So I thought to myself, what if…

Some quick preliminary sketching of the various what if’s.

Goals & Objectives

  1. Get to my music faster.
  2. Most relevant content up-front.
  3. More immersive experience.

Yes, I understand I can always type in a search for the track, artist, or album I am looking for — and that is FANTASTIC. But what if I just want to see the most relevant content to me at a quick first glance? Maybe it’s most played albums, maybe its a specific play list, or collection of playlist? Or maybe it’s conglomeration of various albums or artists I listen to on a daily basis?

On the left, current state. On the right, “what if…”

Maximize Your Minimized View

After witnessing what YouTube’s native app was doing over in Android land for PIP, I began to wonder, what if a similar approach took place over in iOS land for my minimized view player. Sprinkle in a little bit of magical dust from Tidal’s rotating album view alongside Shazam’s equalizer animation and you got yourself a pretty slick and efficient minimized player.

But wait, there’s more. Why stop there? Why not give the user some feedback of what specific point in time they are at with the track they’re listening to. Furthermore, why not allow them to speed forward or backwards to their favorite part of their jam session. Yes, user back in the time progression ticker with the ability to interact with it. #GodBlessMicroInteractions

Lastly, introduce the already established swiping gestures to skip or to replay a particular track. Tap once to pause and play, tap twice (or swipe up) to go back to your fully maximized view of the “Now Playing” modal. Finally, tie everything together with a slick transition between the various micro states, and you’ve got yourself a simple, yet robust minimized player.

On the left, playing view. | In the middle is the paused state. | On the right scrubbing forward/backwards with exact timing feedback.

Bringing It All Home

So we’ve tweaked and re-tweaked, now it’s time to put it all together. Taking a look at the current home screen, I immediately thought, HMW best leverage this space and maximize the user’s options? We know the user has specifically come here to look at their music, so let’s give it to them. Bring out and up their favorite jams

With the advent of Apple Music, people are no longer downloading an entire album, but instead, downloading their favorite tracks only. Thus, it can be quite cumbersome when I only have one song downloaded on a particular album, but to listen to that track I must first select the album and then the track. Thus, implementing back the “Play” icon on the bottom-right hand-corner of the album, gives the users both the option to drill down to an album, or simply start playing the tracks of that particular album.

Lastly, what if we make the “Recently Added” layout a 3-up instead of a 2-up? Again, same drill down or instant play functionality, but now, I have way more visibility to all my tracks at one quick swipe.

On the left, current state. On the right, “what if…”

The Results

Well, you tell me? What’s your personal take? Comment down below or Tweet me (at)mattsouzadesign and let me know what you think. I’m curious to see if there are others out there with a similar point of view. Cheers!

1. Tap to play/pause | 2. Swipe Left/Right to skip/repeat | 3. Double Tap/Swipe Up to maximize.

Fun fact about the author:

Matt Souza is a Dallas based minimalist and mobile-first design enthusiast with a healthy obsession for fitness, travel, and Chipotle. Learn more at mattsouza.com

Matt Souza

Written by

Mobile-first, minimalist design enthusiast. Chipotle lover, travel junkie and fitness fanatic. Learn more at mattsouza.com

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