Metro on the iPad

Justin French, September 2012

“Track 8” by Enderlabs is an intriguing new music player alternative for iOS . Here’s how they pitch it:

Your music library doesn’t have to look ordinary. Track 8 brings the Metro experience to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with an exciting music player. Browse and play your music in an immersive visual experience of album artwork and artist images.

I’ve installed it on my iPhone and iPad, and my only real complaint so far is that it’s a little sluggish on my old hardware. The experience is otherwise pretty great so far. The iOS and Metro (or whatever they call it now) user interface conventions are worlds apart, but I was able to adapt quickly. I have complaints and niggles, but that’s true for almost all of Apple’s apps as well. There were also moments of surprise and delight.

I’ve been fascinated by the Metro UI for a long time, and this is a chance to dig far deeper than I could with a demo phone in my local store. My first real Metro experience was far more personal, positive and effective because it’s my own music library, on my own device, with everything is presented to me in a new way. This is the Metro way, Microsoft’s way.

I’d like to think this is some covert Microsoft manoeuvre to expose millions of iOS users to the Metro UI. It should have been.

Either way, it feels like Enderlabs shipped Metro onto a tablet device long before Microsoft did, and that raises an interesting question:

If Apple beat everyone with the complete hardware, software and content ecosystem, would this have been a better way for Microsoft to pry open a tiny wedge in the market?

What about the stuff you’re working on?