These days it seems like iTunes controllers are a dime a dozen, and for the most part, that would be right. However, not all iTunes controllers are created equal, a principle perfectly demonstrated by Cover Stream, an awesome app from the people over at SNARB.TK. This awesome app takes all of the best features from a bunch of other iTunes controller apps and rolls those features into a streamlined, functional application that will make browsing your music a pleasure.
The first major thing about Cover Stream 2.0 is that it requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, as it employs the use of Apples new graphics engine CoreAnimation, as well as other Leopard-only technologies. The interface uses the Coverflow interface, which is rapidly becoming ubiquitous in the Mac application space. You can invoke the Coverflow window by using any key-combination that youd like, which is easily tweaked via the preferences menu of the application. The Coverflow window is chock full of handy buttons to control your music, including Play/Pause, and Forward/Backward buttons.
The main coverflow window has all of your iTunes album covers in the familiar Coverflow view. The info bar along the bottom lets you know whats playing as you search for more music.
Another incredibly useful feature of the Coverflow window is that you can actively search through your music simply by typing with the Cover Stream window set as the active window. In a similar fashion to Quicksilver, the app will start to narrow down your music library to try to make it easier for you to find what youre looking for. One thing Id really like to see implemented would be the ability to hit Backspace once to have it clear out the entire search, rather than just erasing the last typed character.
The point at which Cover Stream far surpasses all other iTunes controller applications that Ive reviewed to this point is the multitude of interfaces with which you can see what youre listening to. In the preferences of the app you have the option to turn Desk Art off and on, which allows you to display the currently playing track on any corner of the desktop. This is really useful, and highly customizable so youre sure to find a way that you like it. Additionally, the Desk Art feature employs the wet floor appearance that is also becoming ubiquitous in some of our favorite apps.
The final major interface that you can use to interact with your music is the Menubar Dropdown interface. By clicking on the menubar icon for Cover Stream you can see whats playing, change ratings, and things of that sort. Its very straightforward, and really simple to use.
In addition to the different interfaces, there are a ton of other features that this awesome app employs. The preference pane offers Last.FM integration, which many people use. Also, Cover Stream interacts with Growl notifications, if you have Growl installed on your Mac. It also integrates with the Apple Remote, has an awesome full screen mode, and other customizable hotkeys.
Overall, this application is incredibly useful and really a pleasure to use. Cover Stream is available from SNARB.TK and costs 14.95, which includes free updates for life.