Sometimes the most useful automotive smartphone apps aren't the most sophisticated ones, like Augmented Driving. But those that let you do something better and safer behind the wheel, like Gesture Music, an iPhone app that allows controlling an iPod with simple swipes and taps.
When you launch the app, it takes control of your iPod Touch or the iPod on an iPhone, allowing skipping tracks forward or back by sliding a finger left to right or right to left, respectively, across the screen. You can also pause the music and resume play by alternately tapping on the screen, and raise or lower the volume by sliding a finger up or down the screen. And if you touch the screen for two seconds it takes you to the app's main menu.
Ostensibly, you can do all of this without looking down at the screen. Plus, the app has a few other features that may make it worth $1.99 if you do have to glance at the screen. Or if your car doesn't have some form of iPod integration.
These include the ability to show album artwork, though much smaller than on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and showing track, artist and song info for the selection playing so that it's much larger and easier to read than normal. It also allows switching the artist info to composer.
Other options allow showing the track number in the app's display, repeating songs and inverting the left-to-right gesture (for what reason we don't know). You can also set the app to go to the previous track using the right-to-left gesture and to disable the iPod's sleep mode so that it's always awake and ready for a finger tap.
A major knock against the apps is that from the main menu you can only select songs from playlists or from the list of songs on your iPod; you can't select music from regular iPod menu categories such as artists and albums. So you'd better like listening to your playlists and songs, either straight through or randomly.
Of course, the app is useless if you have the type of iPod integration in your car that defeats the controls of the device. And you wouldn't need it in this case anyway,although we've seen OEM iPod-integration schemes that Gesture Music improves upon.
It doesn't have the Jedi-like, hands-off gesture control of Monster's new iMotion CarPlay 3000 aftermarket iPod integration kit, which we plan to get our hands on — and off — soon to test. But at $1.99 (and currently on sale at the iTunes App Store for $0.99), it's a lot cheaper than the $120 Monster iMotion.
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