Consider this scenario. You're working at your desk while listening to music on your iPhone or iPod touch. An interruption arises, like a phone call or the need for quiet concentration, so you hit the pause button. Once the interruption is over, you're too involved in the resulting task to realize that you've been wearing headphones and listening to nothing for goodness knows how long.
I've done it, and it's a bit embarrassing.
Check out the gallery of screenshots below and then click the link to read our review of Take Five.
Think of Take Five as a timed pause button for your iPhone and iPod touch. To use it, start your music, podcast or audio book as you usually do. When that interruption arises, launch Take Five. Your audio will stop and you'll see a large pause graphic over the album art. But that's not the cool part.
At the bottom of the display is a slider similar to that on the iPhone/iPod touch's lock screen. However, it works much differently. Take Five's slider counts down the duration of the current pause.
As you move the slider to the right, you increase the duration. Moving it about an inch sets the timer for approximately 5 minutes (by default, Take Five automatically begins a five-minute pause upon launch). Once you release the slider, the countdown begins. You can watch the numbers descend while the slider slowly returns to the start position over a twirling "ribbon." When it reaches zero, the audio fades in and resumes. A timed pause can last anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes.
The UI also includes the album art, skip and back buttons and a pause button as well as the current track's artist, title and album. You can also browse and launch playlists from within the app, and the remote clicker on Apple's earbuds also initiates a five-minute pause.
In the words of Ron Popeil, "Set it and forget it." Your audio resumes all on its own without any action from you. I've found this to be especially useful while running errands in the car. I like to listen to podcasts while I'm out and about. With Take Five, I can arrive at the bank, post office or what have you, move the slider over to 7 or 8 minutes, complete my errand and get back to the car. The podcast resumes all on its own with no fiddling from me. It saves me time and, more importantly, keeps me from restarting the audio while driving.
Take Five is available now from the App Store for US$0.99. It's one of those useful utilities that will make you think, "Why didn't my iPod do this all along?"