Couch Music Player (US$1.99) works seamlessly with your iPad and iTunes but creates a better, and more fluid experience at managing and listening to your music. The iPad built-in music player has always seemed pretty basic to me, and Couch Music Player seeks to fix that.
The strength of the newly released app is playlist creation. Using gestures, you can grab tracks and swipe across the screen to quickly create playlists to fit your mood or for social or special events.
When your music is running, your iPad can become a visual jukebox, with full-screen album art. Playback controls remain on-screen, and when you change from one playlist to another, there is a smooth fade rather than an abrupt stop. The app stays synced with iTunes, so no worries there. The Couch Player playlists, which are called queues, can be unlimited in length or number.
I tested the app over the last couple days and found it a satisfying experience. Operation was smooth, and you really can abandon the feature-poor, Apple-provided player and just run Couch Player. The only flaw I found, and it is a small one, is the app does not directly give you a button for Airplay or Bluetooth output. You can double tap the home button on your iPad, and you will have those controls on the very left of your icon menu.
It's surprising that with Apple being so music-centric a company, the iPad iTunes player doesn't show Apple at its best. Couch Player one-ups Apple with a slick interface and intuitive gesture controls.