Deck for iPad

Building a music player that focuses on easy controls and beautiful album artwork

  • #iOS
  • #iPad
  • #music

A simplified Music experience for the iPad

We built Deck to be the simplest way to play Music and Podcasts on the iPad. The experience was designed to focus solely on easy playback control with a beautiful interface that adapts to its content.

Apple's Music App

As the iPad became widely adopted, people started using it to play music in various environments and situations; from parties, to yoga studios, to kitchen tables and more. However, the stock Music app provided by Apple was catered towards browsing large libraries of music with an unnecessarily complicated interface and small buttons that were hard to press from a distance.

The original interface for Apple's Music app on the iPad.

Deck's Design

Deck’s design is focused solely on playback. The controls were designed to match Apple's hardware design aesthetic with large black chiclet keys embedded into an aluminium styled keypad. The background of the app changed to the cover art of each track with a heavy Gaussian blur effect applied to it. This blurred background effect, which is now a common technique in iOS apps, was used in Deck long before the arrival of iOS 7.

Portait view of Deck. Notice how the background is a blurred version of the artwork.
Landscape view of Deck. Notice how the background is a blurred version of the artwork.
Simplified song selction screen. Large type and easy to hit targets.


Our marketing around the app echoed our app’s purpose: Deck has big buttons, a beautiful design and is simply the best way to play your music on your iPad.


Deck was very well received and garnered positive feedback from many users and bloggers.

"After just five minutes of using it I was in love with it."

"The iPad's built-in Music app is an unnecessarily complex beast with inexplicably tiny controls, terribly inconsistent user interface colors, and an album-art-driven music browser that's a chore to navigate for all but the tiniest music libraries. Deck strips out all that UI cruft and instead presents a decidedly superior alternative: big, unmistakeable buttons that tell you at a glance what's going on with your music."

"No more hunting through a grid of album covers to find playlists or a specific artist -- Deck simplifies browsing music on the iPad even for my 8000+ song library, and it supports playback of songs uploaded to iTunes Match, too."

"Deck is close to perfect as a music player for the iPad"

Chris Rawson, TUAW

Read the full review here

Many users reached out to us sharing the various environments they used Deck and we used that feedback to iterate and improve the experience.

Appstore availabilty

Unfortunately, since we decided to end all development projects within szello, Deck is no longer available on the App Store.