Planetary iPad App

Update: August 27th 2013
Exciting news. The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum has acquired Planetary. It is a very strange but fantastic update to this project which was a true labor of love. I enjoyed working on Planetary more than any other in recent memory. It felt destined from the moment Bloom and I started to explore the possibilities of creating something special for the iPad. And now it has a place on a shelf in the Smithsonian. Truly surreal. Read more about it here: https://www.cooperhewitt.org/object-of-the-day/2013/08/26/planetary-collecting-and-preserving-code-living-object
// end update

In February 2011, I started working on an iPad app for/with Bloom Studios. The app was to be a new way to browse through music collections. We decided on the metaphor of a solar system to represent the work of an artist. Each artist would be a star, the sun for that system. Each planet would represent an album by that artist. Each planet would have a system of moons (or maybe just a single moon) that would represent the tracks on that album. Backing further out, the galaxy represents all the music in your collection.

I wrote about the process for making the application over on the Bloom Studios blog.

The application, called Planetary, is available at the App store for iPads. In the first few days after its release, it reached #1 in many countries. The feedback has been fantastic. An update is in the works. Below are some screengrabs showing off the new look for the application. Check back at the Planetary website to find out more details about when the update will be released.

The new galaxy view shows you all the artists in your iPad. Here, I am filtering by first letter.

The Flashbulb star and its 6 orbiting planets.

Closeup of the Flashbulb planet "Red Extensions of Me" which features a bright red album cover. The planet and its moons derive their surface patterns and colors from the album art.

Image of the revised eclipse effect.

Looking at the Aphex Twin planet for the album "Selected Ambient Works 85-92". The track Heliosphan is the track I have played the most on that album. Accretion disk shadows have been added in the new version of the app.