The iPad is a pretty decent media player. You can’t strap it to your arm while running, but decent internal storage, a mostly great UI and the ability to connect audio devices with USB makes it a pretty good source for most people. One thing that is beyond me though, and keeps annoying me to no end, is the playback screen that the thing switches to every time you start playing a song. It blows up the album art full size (which of course doesn’t fill the entire screen and still manages to look rather ugly as most album art isn’t 768 x 768) and takes you away from that clean, iTunes-like interface that utilizes the screen real estate so well. Tapping the album art brings up some controls – still in 1:1 format that doesn’t cover the screen – but it simply look stupid on a screen that large in my opinion. It’s like they took the playback screen from an oldschool ~2-inch MP3 player and simply blew it up, screen ratio and physical screen size be damned.
Having done some searching online I have noticed that I’m not the only one who finds this quite annoying. The fact that Apple didn’t bother to include a setting to remove this is a great example of their arrogance in deciding what users should like, with other examples being the lock screen lock mute/lock debate (where they actually caved) and banning apps that used the volume key on the iPhone as a shutter release for the camera. This might seem like a small thing to complain about, but having what’s essentially a screen saver activate seemingly at random (it’s not always just the first time you start playing something) gets annoying quickly. So if you’re reading this Apple, listen to your customers and add an option to disable that thing – it’s not the kind of UI annoyance we expect as Apple users.