A couple weeks ago, I critiqued the design of Apple’s new Podcasts app, and I mentioned the representation of a reel-to-reel tape player that is revealed when the cover art is tapped. I spent a little more time playing with it and wanted to point out the very detailed work that went into it.
I did not realize at first that the thickness of the tape on the reels corresponds to the percentage of the podcast that has been played, just as it would with physical tape. That’s a nice touch that arguably has some utility, though it’s made superfluous by the playback indicator/scrubber directly below. Then there’s the completely frivolous animation that occurs whenever playback starts or stops. There is a tape guide on the left side that is spring-loaded. In a real tape player, it would ease the tension on the tape, or take up slack, as the reels started or stopped turning. It’s a beautiful little bit of animation.
Ben Lenarts pointed out that the design pays tribute to Dieter Rams’ TG-60 tape recorder.