[Note: this review has been overhauled, and you can see a more in-depth review here.]
Amp Music Player is a Zune-like music app for your iPhone. It’s a smart player that can look up relevant information on the song you’re playing (band bio, YouTube vids, concert dates) and features full access to the iPod.app library on your iPhone. The app also features a very customizable playlist and a skinnable interface, but after you see the Now Playing screen and in-app ads, you might think twice about using this app as your iPhone’s primary music player.
The developers of Amp haven’t described it as being Zune-like, but the text-based interface does remind me a lot of Microsoft’s Zune HD (or Windows Phone 7). You navigate the main sections by sliding text at the top of the screen, and even the artist and album selection is displayed as a gorgeous list on a dark background. It’s easy to find and select music to play, but it’s not all that different from the iPod
Unfortunately, the Now Playing screen seems to throw the idea of a text interface right out the window, and instead bombards you with all sorts of boxed-in images and buttons. I’m not saying that the designers had to keep the text interface in place — but the Now Playing screen feels much too crowded in comparison to the rest of the app, which is a shame, since it’s probably one of the screens you’ll be viewing most after you start a song within Amp.
The in-app ads display atop the list of your stored artists and albums, and they can range from online dating ads to IQ calculators. I found these little banners quite intrusive, and since Amp is only being offered for free for a limited time, I’m not sure why there have to be any ads at all.
All told, I probably played with Amp for about 20 minutes before giving up on it, and ten of those minutes were spent just having the app read my iPod library. You could use Amp to play music and have it automatically look up quick bits of information for your current song (no lyrics, though), or you could simply use your iPod.app coupled with SoundHound, Shazam Encore, or MusicID, and have a much better experience.
Amp is currently available for free, though I’m not sure for how long, or what the price will be when this sale ends.