Apps pandora_update_1

Published on September 23rd, 2018 | by Sebastian Szwarc


Pandora’s Apple TV app gets a new look, little else

The online streaming music platform Pandora updated their tvOS app on September 20, but the improvements are more visual than feature-rich to improve the experience.

If you have automatic updates set to ‘on’ you could easily miss the Apple TV update without even knowing it, but a closer look will reveal the first change in its app icon with its darker background and redesigned “Pandora” logo.

Once inside the app, every element of the interface is where it was supposed to be. The main screen as before is filled with covers of radio stations, but the blue background is gone and replaced with a more grayish style.

After selecting a radio station, another visual difference becomes obvious. Previously the cover of the album was duplicated in a background with a blur effect and a more blue border color. Now the blur is gone and replaced with a stretched image of lower quality than an album cover.

pandora_update_2The Pandora update on Apple TV is clean, but lacks any advanced features.

Such a change is supposed to be subtle but is more hurting to the eyes. While the look is cleaner with an emphasis on the primary cover image, the screen has a small, thin progress bar with countdown timers on either side that require a second-take to read. You can always turn the app off and send the sound to external speakers by AirPlay, but that defeats the purpose of the app on a 40-inch-plus television.

One of the biggest complaints to the Pandora app has been that it doesn’t have features parity with its iOS counterpart. The new version does not address any of these issues.

For example, you still can’t add different artists or songs to chosen stations to increase the style mix-up. Another thing that is missing is detailed information of the artist currently being played with suggestions of similar performers – a useful thing for discovering new stuff.

As a result, whenever I personally want to use Pandora I choose a terminal client called PianoBar and relying solely on Apple Music on my ATV.

Pandora Music selection of tracks is not as rich as say Apple Music Radio. While this might be seen as inferior at first, one could argue that in situations where you are in the mood for just listening to music without thinking of what to play, Pandora offers a better chance to find a tune you know and like.

If Pandora’s goal was to create an uncluttered look at feel in its Apple TV update, it succeeded, but it certainly could have added certain features that added to the overall experience with a minimal amount of effort.

Pandora Music is available in U.S. App Store free of charge. A commercial-free version, called “Pandora Plus”, is available for $4.99 a month and allows users to choose songs to play in a similar manner as other streaming services do.

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About the Author

Sebastian is a Mac journalist and podcast host based in Poznań, Poland. He is the founder and co-host of the podcast Pear 2 Pear, and currently the editor of and Mój Mac Magazyn. A big movie fan, he talks about film music on Radio Poznań. He has previously worked for and the podcast Jabłecznik.

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