Many of us already have/use the jailbreak program "Music Controls," and it likely will be obsolete once 4.2 hits the streets, but it should have a review, nonetheless.
What it is:
Music Controls is a jailbreak app available through Cydia that will let you control virtually any audio application on the iPad. It can take over control of iTunes, Pandora, Slacker Radio, XM/Sirius, last.fm, and many more (38 in all), giving them all the functionality that iTunes comes with by default. Pop-up audio controls now work with these 3rd party apps, along with swipe gestures to change songs, just as you would with iTunes, and has built in additional controls you can activate. Album art gets added to the lock screen and optional music controls get pasted along the title bar.
More capabilities that Music Controls provides to control your music:
- Task Controls (4.x)
- Popup Controls (3.x)
- Lockscreen Controls
- Headset Controls
- Bluetooth Controls (3.1+)
- Statusbar Controls (3.x)
- Lockscreen Swipe Gestures
- Swipe Gestures while the display is OFF
What it costs:
Free trial for 5 days
$4.99 for the software
Music Controls is an essential jailbreak add for in-car iPad use. The app does exactly what the OS did not. The addition of the lock screen controls prevents added touches that were previously needed to control our music. I haven't got to play with the "swipe gestures while the display is off," but the concept definitely intrigues me. Likewise, bluetooth controls should be very handy to anyone that has integrated a controller into their steering wheel.
One rather significant issue is how it handles backgrounding. On its own, it's rather unclear how the backgrounding is performed and what is actively running, thus making it increasingly difficult to "quit" a backgrounded app. Additionally, most of us already run Backgrounder for other applications like Rev, DashCommand, etc. When both are trying to engage the same program (Pandora, for example) it can get a little confusing. Often I don't know if I've ever quit a program entirely.
I also ran into a time code error, where the iPad reported a time different than the Music Controls server, causing Pandora to continually crash. In order to fix this, I had to manually enter the time in the iPad preferences.
Overall, the program is at LEAST worth the free trial, and most likely worth the $4.99 purchase price. iOS 4.2 will make the functionality of the program obsolete, but with no concrete launch date set, $4.99 is a worthwhile investment for this functionality until then.
I didn't know about this program. How does it help with the following problems:
1. When I double click the home button, I get the popup audio controls like you show in your first screen cap. When driving, that's a distraction. They're too small and take too much attention to touch. I'd rather be able to swipe like I do in flicktunes. Basically, flicktunes for ALL audio programs.
2. Bluetooth. I use an inexpensive bt dongle for A2DP. I always have to manually connect it using the General preferences when I bring the iPad in the car. Does that help or at least shorten that process?
I personally never use the popup controls for the exact reason you mentioned -- they're just too small for driving. Virtually all of my control is done at the lock screen or within Rev with swipe gestures, very similar to what you're doing within flicktunes. These controls are now extended to all audio programs. I can turn on Pandora, hear a song I don't like, and make my swipe motion (I like swipe-in from bottom left) and it will advance to the next song within Pandora, all from the lock screen, home screen, or within any application.
Originally Posted by Bugbyte
In regards to your bluetooth question, I really can't answer. I'm very much a bluetooth noob and don't have any networking going on in my car. Perhaps you could give the free trial a whirl and let us know its capabilities in that regard.
Ummm...how do the swipe gestures work? I downloaded the 5 day trial but don't see any support for gestures. Is it in activator?
Yes, it adds gesture support that's already part of activator.
Without Music Controls: You're running Pandora and give the "Next Song" gesture. Since there's no gesture support, it silences Pandora, starts up your iTunes library, and plays the next song.
With Music Controls: You're running Pandora, give the "Next Song" gesture, and it advances song.
Just now I heard about this. Very cool, can't wait to try it. Why the 4.2 will make the program obsolete? You'll still need it to control Pandora, others right?
From my understanding of iOS 4.1 (I don't have it, so correct me if I'm wrong), you can currently control pandora just as you control the iPod. That's the primary function that MusicControls provides, along with backgrounding (another feature of iOS 4.1). Gestures come from activator, so assuming this hardware level jailbreak is as good as they say, we will still have gesture based control.
On a side note: if you download the trial and DONT register, you actually keep almost all of the functionality once the trial is over. It still backgrounds and controls 3rd party music apps. Also, to exit (as backgrounding isn't clearly shown), if you are playing Pandora and hit the home button, the app gets backgrounded. If you PAUSE the music and hit the home button, it will quit the app. Makes sense. Actively doing something? Background. Not actively doing it? Quit.
I have an ip4 running 4.1, but activator is not reliable. I can confirm however that icon spread and pinch do work to control Pandora, as you said. It also works with I heart radio. I didn't know the iPod controls would work, thanks for that, very cool.
I prefer the flick tunes/gesture style control. It's more reliable: i cant get slide in fromscreen bottom left/right to work...maybe its me....But the activator idea is very cool though.
Btw, can't you disable the background feature of music controls, and stick to backgrounder? With backgrounder, if you put an app in the background it will stay there even if you open and close it many times, until you actively shut it down.