For the new guest post series of MacStories, today Matteo Parollo reviewed Ecoute, the new kid on the block of iTunes remote controllers.
In the past months we attended to the birth of many iTunes controllers.
First came Coversutra, which brought us the concept of that-album-art-on-the-desktop, then Bowtie, which made customization of that album art really easier and then, finally, Ecoute stepped into my Applications folder.
The first feature you will notice about Ecoute is that it does not need iTunes to be open to run. Actually, it doesn’t even consider it, it just automatically loads your library, since then, the only reason why you’ll open iTunes again, will be to add or buy music.
The interface is pretty simple, Ecoute is made up by two main screens, a browse one, and a play one. The first one, which can be arranged by Artist, Album and so on is made up by a clickable list, the gap between artist names is a little too big, in my opinion, but its dimensions are justified by coherence: the same space is used by the album cover, when it’s shown and, in that case, everything fits perfectly.
The play view resembles to the iPhone and iPod touch iPod-application screen and the behavior is quite similar. Controls show and disappear on mouse hover and lyrics, when available, pop out on mouse click. On the top of the interface stands a black toolbar where the shuffle and repeat buttons are always available and controls appear when browsing.
Another cool feature which deservers to be mentioned is social-awareness of this application. Unlike other similar products, Ecoute not only perfectly and rapidly scrobbles to last.fm but also allows you to (automatically) tweet and set as your facebook status what you’re listening to, and by the way, setting it up works like a charm.
Finally, Ecoute represents a real and usable alternative-complement to iTunes. It plays music, videos and podcasts smoothly and that eye-candy and fast GUI will surely put a smile on you desktop!
And, by the way, the customization scene around desktop-album-art-thing is hot and interesting.