Driving under the influence of a cellphone is as dangerous as driving drunk. What can we do, now that music is migrating to the smartphone? It’s a pressing issue, because as much as 80 percent of music listening happens in the car, by one estimate.
Well-heeled music fans might consider a new car with dashboard-level integration with your phone’s music collection, and even certain music apps. We’ve witnessed both MOG and Pandora controlled from the dash of a Mini Cooper, and BMW recently extended that functionality to its entire line of upcoming cars. In addition, plenty of cars ship with a plain old iPod connector for playing music stored on your iPhone -- even if it can’t access music services like MOG and Pandora.
But for most of us, listening to a smartphone in a car means connecting a regular audio cable to an Aux In jack, streaming tunes wirelessly to stereos via Bluetooth or, failing that, using an FM transmitter or maybe even one of those wacky cassette-shaped adapters. In all of those cases, you still need to futz around with your phone while driving, which can lead to arrests, if a cop thinks you’re texting, or worse.
To bring you the cream of the crop in iPhone car music apps, we contacted the developers of every car music player app in the iTunes store, starting a couple of months ago. The below list is comprised of the apps from those who responded, so all of these apps come from active developers who have not abandoned their projects.
Then we tested every single one of them in the interest of science, safety and entertainment. Of course, none of these should be taken as license to break local laws about smartphone usage and driving.
Most of these apps share the same functionality -- like swiping the screen left or right to skip to the next song or rewind -- so design is an important factor here. To decide which app is right for you and your iPhone, check out these reviews, screenshots and recommendations:
Big Button Music Player was named truthfully.
BigPlayer car music app for iPhone offers solid safety features.
Car Player's iPod front end has pink fuzzy dice.
Excellent CarTunes app brings safety and iTunes playlists to the car.
Chilli X PlaySafe reacts lightning-fast to finger swipes.
Cruise Control is the basic cable of car players.
FlickTunes car music player packs sophisticated gesture controls.
FluxTunes iPhone car music player gets the gestures right.
GestureMusic car music app offers solid options.
Don't get played by iSwipe's car music player.
iSwipeMusic car player is best left on the side of the road.
Music Car Control Player app counters highway noise with speed data.
NavMusic adds scant driving features to iPhone's music player.
PlayNow is probably not worth a dollar.
Slow Down car music player is your new Belgian mother-in-law.
Tilt Track plays with your accelerometer so that you can keep your eyes on the speedometer.
TuneControl's car music player exudes retro cool.
TuTuneMe iPhone music player offers excellent controls for the car.