SonoPad arrives on the iPad (and why the hell did I write an App for Sonos at all?)

It’s done!

After a long journey that started back in July SonoPad made it into the AppStore right for christmas.
Writing an App for Sonos turned out to be much more work than I had anticipated before – so I’m happy to have the very first version out now.

But let me introduce myself first:
My name is Stefan, I am living in Berlin/Germany and I am writing Apps as hobby 🙂 … three years ago I started using Squeezeboxes in my room and as Logitech for a long time didn’t have an iPad App this was my first App I developed at all.
I used to be a developer on my main job though for a long time, so development is not new to me. My day job now focusses more on product management so I’m happy that I’m still able to develop in my free time. You might have noticed that Logitech dropped the Squeezebox line in the meantime, which in turn made me have a closer look at Sonos – and here I am in this new world!

One might ask why I’d still dare to write an App for Sonos? Don’t they have a cool App for free already?
Well: if you just count features, of course nothing is really missing from the Sonos App.
Actually it’s a pretty pretty good App compared to anything I’ve seen so far in the music business (I’m mainly comparing to all those UPnP Apps and Logitechs offerings be it Squeezebox or the new UE Line).

Yet: for my personal taste (and that of my wife) the Sonos App is too crowded on the main screen.
This is cool for Pro Users who need access to everything, but for everyday use I prefer a more slick and clear interface.
I also think that for some common tasks the number of taps required can be reduced and this is what I’m striving for (i.e. I’m very often in a ‘just play this album now’-mode, much like in the old CD times and I don’t like the regular popup that asks me where to put it into the queue).

Another thing that is missing: a clear volume level indicator: I do have two to three typical volume levels I’m listening to, e.g. “normal music listening”, and “audiobooks with my son while lying in the bed”. If there was a better volume indicator in the Sonos App I could set the target volume level much faster.

Other possible areas are beyond pure remote control. For instance my App has an integrated browser, with preconfigured shortcuts (based on the currently playing song) to many different music related sites (Discogs, Musicbrainz, Allmusic, Google Lyrics Search, Google Image Search, YouTube Search etc.). So if you want to learn something new about the artist or song you are listening to right now, it’s just some easy and simple taps away. I miss that one the most when using Sonos.

Not existing yet, but a possible future use case might also involve a “Party-mode”: the UI in a party mode could be reduced to only allow adding to the queue (but no replacement or volume control whatever) so that you can more easily hand around the iPad when your friends are there. Also here it’s very important to have a much more concise and easy to learn UI.

There are so many other cool ideas I have and I also hope that the community comes up with new ideas and shares requests.
Please use the comment function here on the blog or write me directly to support(at)sonopad.com

There are so many possibilities with a dedicated third party developer, whose main focus is not the whole big Sonos world, but just his own little App he wants to be successful against a free alternative.

Last but not least: I’m a developer, so I don’t want to wait for others to fulfill my wishes.

So lets start a great new future for SonoPad today!


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