We recently got ourselves an iPod Touch, to entertain our oldest child on long trips. It is a brilliant device in many ways, I can understand why people love their iPhones (even though I am very happy with the very different style of the Blackberry phone that I was given by my employer). However, I have found one weird behavior in the music player that leaves me wondering how it got through into the shipping product.
The issue appears in the Cover Flow presentation of music, when I have several songs from different albums – but these albums have the same name. That is most obvious in the case of albums called “Greatest Hits”. I have quite a few of those by various artists, and I have synched only a few select songs from a few of those onto the iPod. In this precise case, there are two songs by Billy Idol, one by Robbie Williams, and two by Bruce Springsteen (revealing my boring music taste I guess…).
We start coverflow and find an album “Billy Idol” and “Greatest Hits”:
So far so good. Now touch it, and turn it around to see the songs in the album:
This is starting to look interesting. The two first songs make sense… but the three later ones are not by Billy Idol. When I tapped the third song to play it, the display turned into play mode:
When I then turned the iPod back to landscape mode to see coverflow, things have changed in a strange way. We are still at the same position in the list of albums, but the artist and cover picture have changed to now depict Robbie Williams. Funny. This means that this album is out of sort order (as the sorting is clearly by artist name in this view).
Tapping that album to view the songs on it, we have a very confused display. The album artist is Robbie Williams. The songs are the same as in the first picture above. The small icon of the album cover is Billy Idol, though. Interesting.
To me, this looks like someone at Apple thinks that album names can be used as unique identifiers for certain tasks, such as displaying album covers in Cover Flow. How that fell through testing amazes me, but maybe it only happens if you synch partial albums? It once again shows how hard it is to imagine and test all the odd cases that might happen out in the real world once a product (hardware or software or a combination thereof) is given to real users.