Music App Stuff #14: Introducing Albums 5.1!
iPad updates, quality of life improvements, and more
Just when you thought you were done with holiday cards, here comes Music App Stuff #14 through the mail slot! And doesn’t Albums look so nice in the photo: all smiles in its new sweater, “5.1” embroidered across the front. There’s some new stuff to tell you about, a bit of wistful year-end reflection, and a glimpse at the year ahead. Let’s start with what’s new in 5.1.
Listening History Improvements
Because you subscribe to Music App Stuff, when you read the headline “Adam Linder, developer of Albums, found dead on hill,” you will know the hill on which I died. January 1st — not a moment sooner — is the appropriate time to look back over your previous year’s listening. Absolutely not the last week of November, as the Music Streaming Industrial Complex now dictates.
So, with about a week to spare, I’m excited to announce some improvements to the Listening History screen. Last year around this time, Albums 4.3 introduced Listening Reports. 5.1 brings them more front-and-center, making it easier to see your last week, month, and year’s listening. Check out this dual-panel view in the iPad app!
Stage Manager Support + other platform conventions
Speaking of the iPad, this update smooths out the experience when resizing the app on an iPad. Although I admit that it was kind of fun to see how messed up the Now Playing screen would look if you resized the window a couple of times, I’m happy to announce that everything now resizes gracefully. Whether or not Stage Manager itself is a weird, confusing mess, Albums isn’t!
Improvements to SwiftUI at this year’s WWDC also meant that I could finally implement two looooongstanding iOS platform conventions that have been missing from Albums. The first is — drumroll — state restoration! Albums will now reopen to the last thing you were looking at if the app closes, rather than dumping you on the “Collections” tab no matter what. Also, tapping the selected tab on the phone will now scroll you up to the top of the screen or pop you back to the root of the navigation stack, as appropriate.
CarPlay Quality of Life Improvements
Yes, that’s right, I dug out the Kindle Fire and janky adapter I use for my CarPlay test environment, took a deep breath, and added a couple of user-requested features. The “Albums” tab now has a big ole button to resume the current album, and the “Collections” tab now lets you view the current queue. But, you know, ultimately let’s end car culture.
Sort by Composer
Did you know it wasn’t possible to sort a collection by Composer in Albums before 5.1? Me neither! I got an email requesting it and was like “surely this is already possible” but no, it wasn’t. Well now it is. And when you do so, the album’s composer name is displayed rather than its artist.
As usual, full release notes are available over at the Albums Subreddit. Due to, um, recent events on the internet, there’s a new Albums Mastodon which you are welcome to follow. While I’m posting links to things, I wanted to mention that I did an interview with Syntopikon a couple of weeks ago that I think came out well. It gets into my setup, my approach to development, and much more.
Thank you very much for being a person who is aware of Albums, whether you are a free user, a paid user, or someone who was signed up for this newsletter as a prank. It is extremely cool to make something that becomes part of other people’s lives. I’m thrilled with where the app is at the end of this year (especially to be on the other end of the 5.0 redesign!), and there’s plenty on the horizon for 2023. Look forward to better playlist support, App Intents, (maybe) a Live Activity, and, pending good news at WWDC, finally a gosh-darned Mac app.
Okay, have a nice end of your year. Bye!
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