FluidTunes is an interesting app available for Mac OS X that promises so much, but in many ways fails to deliver. The app is intended to allow you to control your iTunes library using hand gestures, much like the multitouch technology seen in a handful of modern PC’s, however this is using your built in iSight camera, meaning you don’t have to touch the screen.
The app keeps in tradition with the majority of OS X apps with its stylish interface, using a similar look to the CoverFlow view built into iTunes and on most iPods, such as the iPod Touch. There is only one view on this app which displays all of your album artwork in the usual fashion, as well as the play/pause, stop and skip track buttons for navigation through your tracks.
In principle, this makes it extremely easy to navigate through your music in a novelty fashion, attempting to make it a fun and more comfortable experience for the user. However, in my experience after only a short time using the app, it doesn’t deliver great results, leaving the app overall, limited and disappointing.
For a start, your image is projected behind the artwork in a semi-transparent fashion which in my opinion, makes it pretty ugly, but I guess it is necessary so you can see whether you are hot or cold when looking for the virtual buttons. One major problem with the app is that it is not confined to just your hand, and with your arms generally being attached to your body, this does cause some sort of interference. For instance, on several occasions when I rush to get up out of my chair for a split second, I found it skimming through my library which was unwanted and annoying.
Another problem is the limited functionality. For example, there is no way of changing the volume such as you can in iTunes, therefore to change the volume you have to do it manually via your speakers, using the keyboard shortcuts on your Mac. However, if you’re doing something else simultaneously that requires sound, you may not want this to be affected. You could also go into iTunes itself and alter the volume, which ultimately defeats the point of the app.
On the other hand there are some positives with this app. When it works which to be fair is a great proportion of the time, it does work well. For me though, If I want to navigate to a third party app when I am listening to music simply to change the song, I do not see what is so wrong with making that app iTunes itself which provides greater functionality. Generally the only gripe with iTunes is how sluggish it becomes. FluidTunes however, is not a direct replacement for iTunes so this does not fix those problems, nor avoid them. It is simply an add-on type application which if anything adds to the problem being an extra process to run. However it is a very minimalist app which will not make much, if any difference to the speed of your machine.
Overall, it is enjoyable due to the novelty for about 5 minutes or perhaps 10 depending how bored you are. However after that it is infuriating and somewhat pointless. Give it a try if you like the sound of it. Don’t just take my word for it.