Cover Stream is an interesting little app that allows you to control iTunes – with very pretty interface, without having to leave your currently open program. Though I’m somewhat partial to using Quicksilver for everything iTunes-control-related, Cover Stream is without question much more visually appealing. The drawback? It’s not free. Cover Stream costs €14.95 EUR, which comes out to about $23.77 USD (at the time this was published). BUT, it does come with a lifetime of free updates, and there is a fully-functional (time limited) demo available for you to try out. Keep reading for a tour of the features and plenty of screenshots.
- The Cover Stream installation is about as straight forward as it gets – unzip the file and drag the application to your Applications folder. Before you start using Cover Stream, take a look at some of the preferences. To do so, select Cover Stream from the menu bar, and then Preferences… from the drop-down list.
On the General tab you can set options such as Launch at login, Launch when iTunes opens etc.
- After you’ve set the General preferences to your liking, click the Browser tab. If you frequently add/remove songs to iTunes, you may want to place a check in the Sync with iTunes at startup box.
- Now select the Visuals tab. You may not want to make any changes until you’re familiar with the program, but give them a quick review so you know what you can change after you’ve used it for a while.
- The Hotkeys tab is one of the more important ones. Because Cover Stream is intended to allow you to control iTunes without having to leave your current application, hotkeys are an important part of this process. Set the shortcuts to whatever you want (or review the defaults and decide if they’ll work for you).
The remaining tabs (Last FM, Remote and Update) are pretty straight forward. If you’re a Last FM user, and don’t scrobble your songs using another app, you can enter your info on that tab.
- One of the main features of Cover Stream is the mini-player/Desk Art. By default, it will show up in the bottom left corner of your desktop.
- When you mouse-over the Desk Art section, a mini-player will appear. From here you can control some of the iTunes features – Play/Pause, Next Track, Previous Track etc.
- To bring up the main Cover Stream window, use the (default) keyboard combo of alt+Apple Key+F8. Use the left and right arrow keys to move through your iTunes library.
- When you’ve found an album you want to listen to, hit enter. Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate to the track you want to play, and again hit enter.
- You can also access a number of the Cover Stream features from the Apple menu icon.
One bug (or intentionally strange “feature”) – if you change songs using any method other than Cover Stream (iTunes itself, Quicksilver etc) – the ‘desktop player’ remains stuck at whatever previous song was playing.
All in all I don’t think I’ll be purchasing Cover Stream, but it may be the ideal solution for you. And it sure is pretty.