I would like to give you an update on what is going on with version 3. As you might have seen, I unstickied the future of Stage Traxx thread as I have now finally decided to continue working on Stage Traxx.
The focus of version 3 is to make the app universal so that it will run on iPhone and iPad and possibly MacOS in the future when Apple enables the functionality to write universal apps for all three platforms.
The challenge in this was to come up with a new user interface that works equally well on small and large screens. This in itself is no trivial task and I had to change some workflows that you are used to. This is also what took a loot of time to get right in the start and I needed quite a few approaches to come up with something that feels right.
So currently Stage Traxx is focused around working with predefined playlists. Changing playlists on the fly was not very intuitive and I had a lot of users asking for improvements in this area. So Stage Traxx 3 will be focused around a playback queue. Here you will always see all queued up songs whether they have been added as a playlist or by manually selecting them. You will be able to reorder songs easily even during playback just by dragging them to a new location in the queue.
The queue can be filled by appending playlists or individual songs. This is done be swiping a playlist or a song to the right. In the queue you can also swipe a song to the right to move it to the top of the queue or to the left to delete it. This is consistent throughout the app. Swipe to the right is always moving a song to the queue or up in the queue and swiping left will delete something (song or playlist).
Playlists can be created like in previous versions. So you are free to choose whether you like to work with predefined playlists or build your queue on the fly during the evening.
Once the queue contains at leat one song, a mini player will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. This player will be available on nearly every screen of the app so that you can start / stop playback anytime regardless of where you are in the app. Only on popup dialogs like when editing song details or lyrics, this player will not be accessible.
A big player can be opened by tapping on the mini player. This view is still not finished so that I can't show you a screenshot yet. But basically this view will work like the current main sreen of Stage Traxx. On the iPad you will also be able to access the queue in landscape mode. Portrait mode and the iPhone will focus on lyrics only in the big player. So if you prefer to work with the queue, you can leave the queue open and work with the mini player and if you prefer lyrics display, you can work in the big player.
Currently I am about 75% finished with the parts that require a complete rewrite. Main part missing is to finish the big player screen.
After that I will add back most of the additional features found in the current version like, Airturn support, MIDI in and out, remote screen sharing and so on. Most of this stuff can be easily ported to the new app.
Some things I might not be able to move to version 3:
Playlist volume is one such thing. As a playlist is now only a way to organize songs. The playback queue will always be played with the device volume. So if you want background music you will have to reduce the device volume. This does not affect individual song volumes and in fact version 3 will finally support replay gain values. So if you use replay gain on your mp3 files, the volume of your songs will be consistent from the beginning.
Automatic continue between songs. This makes sense within predefined playlists, but not in a flexible queue. I would like to keep this feature but I am not yet sure how to do that.
Playback from the iTunes library. To be honest, about 90% of support requests are due to the fact that playing songs from within the iTunes library had all kinds of issues for users that did not tag their songs. So I have decided to drop this feature. You can still import songs from the iTunes library but they will now be stored as local files in the app. This has the additional advantage, that backups could now also include the song files. This would simplify the whole backup / restore process greatly.
So, what is my planned timeline?
I hope to have a version finished by January 2019 which might not be feature complete but useable enough to start early beta testing with. So I plan to start an open beta on Testflight in January where everyone can participate and I will release feature updates for the following 2 months. After that it should be feature complete and testing will focus on erasing the last bugs.
The official release might be in early Q2/2019.
This will be a paid upgrade for existing customers. I'm not sure if pricing will be a one time fee or wheter I will move to a subscription pricing model. That would make revenues more constant and maybe allow me to dedicate more time for the app. But I am not sure yet on the acceptance of this model. Subscription pricing would most probably be in the area of $1.50 per month or $10 per year. I hope that this is a reasonable price that would not prevent most users from upgrading to this version.
And now some screen shots from the iPhone.
Contents of a playlist. You can clearly see which songs are transposed and which have a changed tempo.
The song list contains all your imported songs.
You can switch between dark theme and light theme. In the above picture you can also see the mini player. Tapping on the title in the mini player will open the big player.
This is the queue view with a song currently playing in the mini player.
And finally the edit screen for song details.