Penguin Loves Music little penguin's guide to playing music Mon, 17 Jul 2017 22:26:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Summer News from iPeng Thu, 13 Jul 2017 10:45:32 +0000 It’s hot outside, but our little penguin stays cool and prepares some new features for you.

While he’s working on a big iPeng update with lots of new features and iOS 11 support for later this summer, he decided to give you some improvements already now so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with everything showing up at once. J

Roon Playback Support

This is an interesting feature for those iPeng and Squeezebox users who have moved from Logitech Media Server to Roon or for Roon users looking for an iOS player App.

While Roon comes with Squeezebox player support so that you can use your Squeezebox players with a Roon server, this didn’t work very well with iPeng so far.

Now, with iPeng 9.3, we fully support Roon’s Squeezebox interface so that you can use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as a Roon player. This works with all functionality Roon supports for Squeezebox players, which includes most of Roon’s general functionality as well as synchronization between Squeezebox players (but currently not between Squeezeboxes and Roon players).

Using iPeng with Roon

You will also be able to start/pause playback or control the volume directly from iPeng, but due to the limitations of Roon’s Squeezebox emulation, this will not work from the lock screen widget or the Watch App (it does work from the control center/lock screen control, though).

iPeng also comes with some integration with the Roon App that allows you to switch directly from iPeng to Roon, and if you do that, you can also directly return from Roon to iPeng.

If you mix Roon and LMS servers, iPeng allows you to move players between the different music sources, and it will identify Roon as such in the server list.

If you use an iPhone or iPad as a dedicated player, you might want to use the “Preserve Connection” setting in iPeng ‘s settings that will keep iPeng waiting in the background for five minutes after you stop playback so that you can start music after your playlist has ended more easily.

Please note: for Roon support you need iPeng’s “Playback”-In-App-Purchase. Roon support only includes player functionality, you cannot browse your Roon library using iPeng.

Find out more about Roon under

Playback Synchronization Overhaul

But there are news for iPeng users with Squeezebox setups as well.

We have completely rewritten the synchronization code in iPeng Playback and it should now perform much better considering several aspects:

  • it syncs much faster with other players;
  • Synchonization should be more stable when used with different player types (depends on the other players also keeping sync stable, which isn’t always the case with software players);
  • pausing/unpausing a group of synced players should have a much shorter delay, and sync should be immediately on unpause.

Use Music and Artist Information Plugin as Lyrics Provider

The “Music and Artist Information” plugin can now be used as a lyrics provider for iPeng’s Lyrics Screen Saver in addition to the SongInfo/Song Lyrics plugins supported before.

Since SongInfo/SongLyrics is no longer supported, we recommend to use Music and Artist Information for new setups, but you currently don’t need to switch for existing installations since both plugins currently use the same lyrics services.

And as usual, the update comes with a lot of smaller updates and bug fixes that we can’t list all in one article.

Have fun and a nice summer with iPeng!

Spotify Wed, 12 Jul 2017 11:59:58 +0000 We’re getting a lot of questions from iPeng users right now about the future of Spotify in the Squeezebox environment.
As things stand, Spotify seems to be discontinuing Squeezebox support soon (this month) and is sending out emails about this.
There is, however, a pretty good workaround, at least if you use Logitech Media Server (version 7.7.x and newer, 7.9.1 recommended), the new “Spotty” plugin:

If you currently don’t run your own Logitech Media Server, you might consider using a Raspberry Pi for this, it will probably give you better performance for your Squeezebox system than alone, consumes little power and there are ready-made distributions for Squeezebox available, like Max2Play or piCorePlayer.

And then just go on listening to good music!

You can find more information about the Spotify discontinuation here:

And directly from Spotify:


iPeng Upgrade Bundles – Your Migration Option for 64-bit- Compatibility Sat, 17 Jun 2017 02:53:17 +0000 If you are still using iPeng Classic on your recent iPhone or iPad with iOS 10, you will have noticed warning messages telling you that future iOS versions will no longer support the App. Apple will probably make this step with the release of iOS 11 this fall.

The solution for this problem is of course iPeng 9. Originally launched as “iPeng 7” three and a half years ago, iPeng 9 has been a 64-bit-App from day one and is seeing continued development and regular updates.

The reasons for making a new App back then instead of updating the old iPeng (Classic) Apps were both technical and commercial. Commercially it wasn’t feasible to do ongoing development without generating revenue from new App sales. And technically we wanted to combine the previously independent iPhone and iPad Apps into one to make maintenance easier, which had become possible because the original technical reasons for the separation had fallen away.

Since our new App launched with iPeng 7 in 2013, it has already seen lots of updates with the addition of features like the Apple Watch App, the lock screen widget, multitasking support and new functionality like QuickSwitch and Playlist and Favorites editing.

Now, if all of this hasn’t been reason enough for you to make the upgrade from iPeng Classic to iPeng 9 yet, we have a special offer for you today: a discounted upgrade path.

For existing users of iPeng Classic there are now two new upgrade bundles available on the App Store (one for iPeng Classic for iPad and one for the iPhone App), giving you a discount when upgrading to iPeng 9*). Just purchase the “bundle completion” on the App Store for the reduced price.

With it you can enjoy all the new features of iPeng 9 instead of listening to Apple’s annoying deprecation warnings and lean back as the release of iOS 11 approaches.

And to spare you the App Store search: here are the direct links to the bundles:

Upgrade Bundle iPhone


Upgrade Bundle for iPad







Download on the App StoreDownload on the App Store



As usual: have fun with iPeng!

*) The exact discount depends on how much you have paid for iPeng Classic. For someone buying the Apps right now this would mean a 22% discount but if you purchased the App longer ago when it was still selling at e.g. US$10 the discount will be bigger while for users who purchased the App at a lower price the discount will be smaller.

We understand that this isn’t ideal, especially in non-US markets where price tiers have been changed due to currency fluctuations. But this is how the App Store works, we can’t influence this mechanism.

Building a Radio for iPeng Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:34:08 +0000 Today we present you an article that might strike some of you as a bit unusual here because it’s mostly not about software but about a cool piece of hardware.

It’s a Squeezebox built from a Tivoli Audio alarm speaker, and for the impatient ones among you, here are the key features and a picture:

Tivoli Squeezebox Radio

  • Tivoli Speaker and case using the original speaker and 3W output;
  • WiFi;
  • runs on battery for a whole day (more than 12h);
  • rotary and push controller for volume and play/pause;
  • separate alarm clock;
  • fully Squeezebox compatible player using a Raspberry Pi zero and SqueezeLite;
  • very simple and power-efficient 5V design.


And since Coolio and I do software in the first place, the whole project has its own software as well, in this case our open-sourced solution to power the volume and play/pause control. It’s quite cool, too :), you can find it on GitHub at

If you want to read the full story, you can find it here:

The Tivoli Squeezebox Radio

iPeng gets ready for iOS 10 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:20:52 +0000 Apple just released iOS 10, and your favorite penguin hasn’t been lazy but made iPeng ready for the new operating system.

Unfortunately, iOS 10’s most prominent feature – Siri voice control support for apps – is not available for music apps yet. But since under iOS 10 widgets have become much more powerful, our iPeng 9.2 update includes some decisive improvements considering their usability.

What Has Changed?

First of all widgets have a new look in iOS 10, and being able to switch between a large and a small version of a widget – a feature iPeng’s widget has offered from the beginning – has now become a system feature. Widgets can also take up a bit more space on the screen, allowing us to improve their legibility.

But iOS 10 also makes widgets available in a lot more places and situations: in the search screen, for instance, and as a quick action on your home screen (if you force-touch the icon; iPhone 6s and newer only).

In both cases, the “compact” widget style is being used by default, so besides adapting the design, we decided to make the most important commands – play/pause, skip and volume – available directly from the compact window as well. This way you no longer need to start the app to start or stop playback, just do it right from the app’s icon.
Compact Widget

Dynamic Type

Under iOS 10 the widget now also supports Dynamic Type, an iOS feature that lets you define the text size on your device. This helps to further improve the accessibility of the app.

Deep Integration with Apple’s Remote Control Commands

As another novelty iPeng now supports Apple’s remote control commands. If iPeng has been the last audio app you have used, you will be able to control it through the iOS control center (or remote control accessories such as docks).
Control Center

Now generally this has been possible with iPeng for a long time, but with iOS 10 the support of the remote control interface has become much more powerful and reliable: It will now even launch iPeng’s playback feature if it has been stopped in the background, so if you just want to continue playing, here’s another case where you don’t even have to open the app at all.

Have fun!

iPeng Widgetry Sat, 06 Aug 2016 02:28:06 +0000 It’s been a while since the last iPeng update, but today we are back with a new feature requested by many users for a while: a so called “Today Widget”, an extension that allows you to place iPeng in the Notification Center on your lock screen.

The Notification Center is the view you can open anywhere on your iPhone or iPad by dragging your finger down from the top of the screen. It has “Notifications” and “Widgets” and the latter are where you can place iPeng. If you need more information on how to configure Widgets in iOS, you might find it here:

What does it do?

The main idea behind the widget is to let you quickly control your players without having to unlock the screen of your iOS device, so the main focus is on displaying information about the current track and giving you player controls.

You can switch between two sizes for the widget: a compact form that only shows information for the current track,

Compact Widget

and a bigger format giving you controls for play/pause, volume and skipping between tracks and within a track (+/- 30s).

Full-Size Widget

You can also change the current player: Tapping the player name will give you a list of all your players, and if you switch to another one, your main iPeng will follow that selection, too.

Widget: Player List

Switching to the main App

If you need other features, you can quickly launch the full iPeng app by tapping the title information in the widget.

There are also two other cases in which the widget takes you directly to the main App:

  • whenever you have too many players to show the full list directly in the widget (a widget can’t show more than a screenful of information) or
  • if you try to control iPeng’s own player (to stream to your iOS device) while the player is not running. In this case the main iPeng App needs to launch to start the player. While it’s playing, the widget will (of course) directly control it like any other player.

A note on using the widget with

To use the widget with, iPeng needs to store your login credentials for the service, something it did not do in the past.

To allow for this, you will have to re-login into, using the “i”-Button for the Music Source, and follow the instructions: Login

So, this is iPeng’s new Today Widget. Enjoy even faster control of your music and have fun!

iPeng Moves on to Version 9 Wed, 28 Oct 2015 01:47:10 +0000 It has taken a bit longer than expected with App Store reviews and all that, but now iPeng 9, the iOS 9-release of iPeng, is finally available as a free update from iPeng 8/7.

As usual accompanying major iOS releases, iPeng incorporates new platform capabilities and features and prepares to support new hardware.

However, this years new operating system features are so numerous (and the number of supported platforms, too, now that there is also the Apple Watch, and Apple TV and iPad Pro are just around the corner) that we could not implement all new features in one release, so iPeng 9.0 is just the first of several updates that will add new capabilities to iPeng during the coming months.

So what’s new in iPeng 9?

Last year, with iPeng 8, support for the new form factors for iPhone was introduced, which meant most of the changes primarily affected the iPhone.

This year, it’s the iPad that has seen most of the improvements for now, but there will probably be further improvements in later versions for the iPhone, too.

Slide Over and Split View


iOS 9 brings new multitasking capabilities to the iPad, and we think they are especially important for a remote control App like iPeng.

Slide Over

Slide Over – available from iPad Air or iPad mini 2 on – allows you to quickly bring in a second App with a swipe from the right edge of the screen without leaving the App you are in. This can come in really handy for example if you are reading something and you just quickly want to change volume or skip a track. Just swipe from the right edge and select iPeng to be shown in the Slide Over view, make your changes and quickly return to the previous App.

Split View

Split View – available on iPeng mini 4 and iPad Air 2 – goes one step further and allows you to show and use two Apps side-by-side, both occupying a smaller screen space. This way you can permanently have iPeng available next to another App.

iPeng 9 in Split View

iPeng 9 in Split View

Using the new view modes

In both these new modes, iPeng no longer “owns” the whole screen but has to limit itself to a smaller window. This means, iPeng’s normal layout showing the main menu and the library content side-by-side no longer works, especially in the very narrow Slide Over view.

The solution iPeng uses for this is to slide the content view over the main menu to allow it to use the whole window. You can slide it in and out the same way you can rearrange the views in full-screen mode, too, just that here you will hide the main menu completely when you move the content view to the left.

In addition to this, in this “compact” view, the button arrangement changes on both the main and the NowPlaying screen to still be able to make all functions accessible with less width available.


One note on swipe gestures: Swiping from the right screen edge used to be the gesture to bring in the current playlist in iPeng for iPad. Now this is also being used to bring in a Slide Over view. The solution is that the Slide Over gesture will work in the (vertical) center of the screen while you can bring in the playlist by using the same gesture near the top or bottom of the screen.

iPad Pro

The new flexibility with regards to screen sizes becomes especially apparent on Apple’s upcoming next iPad model: the iPad Pro. On the iPad Pro, two Apps can run side-by-side in landscape mode and have almost the same size as on smaller iPad models in portrait mode. Or, if you run iPeng in full screen, you have even more space to show your library content – actually so much space that on the iPad Pro iPeng will allow you to permanently show the current playlist (“pin” it to the main screen), not only in landscape but also in portrait orientation.

iPeng uses a new font

iPeng 9 also introduces a new font to iPeng: Fira Sans. It gives iPeng a more distinguished look compared to the system font, but it also serves a practical purpose:

With iOS 9 Apple switches to a new system font called “San Francisco”. San Francisco was designed to offer better legibility at small point sizes (short text height), but it does so at the expense of greater width, at least for small sizes.

This is great if you want to display blocks of text on the screen, like for a reader or browser App, because you can get more lines on the screen and still have a well legible text, the few characters less you can show per row are typically less important.

iPeng, however, often shows single lines of text that are width-limited while the height of a row became less important in the light of devices getting bigger. For this reason, we wanted a font that is narrower but taller, trading height for width, and we wanted it to be at least as legible as Apple’s font.

What we found as a solution was Fira Sans, the font developed by Carrois and Edenspiekermann for the Mozilla Foundation.

Changed Font

While technically a sans-serif font, Fira Sans has some visual guides that improve legibility for narrow text and has a relatively small width, allowing us to increase the point size of the font while still displaying the same number of characters in a row.

This way, iPeng achieves improved legibility without sacrificing content.

Watch out for more news in iPeng

These are the major changes for now, but iOS 9, watchOS 2 and upcoming tvOS have much more to offer, so watch out for more new features and iPeng variants in the next months…

Have fun with iPeng!

iPeng for Apple Watch Design Notes Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:33:57 +0000 A device like the Apple Watch brings new challenges for the app design, especially considering the limitations Apple’s current WatchKit has. Communication with the watch is not very fast and consumes a lot of battery power and since apps run on the iPhone, not the watch, every piece of information needs to go back and forth. So uploading long lists and the like or permanent remote communication right now don’t look like a good idea.

GlanceAlso, there is a fixed and small set of user interface elements one can use on the Watch. This is a pity particularly when it comes to the volume buttons. Ideally, one would want to use the crown to change volume, but currently that’s not possible.

So browsing through long lists of thousands of albums or the like will probably not make sense (Apple’s own apps are all quite limited in that respect), Apple’s general guideline is to only implement tasks that don’t take longer than 10s since after that the arm will quickly start to tire.

iPeng tries to find the sweet spot in between these limitations with its current design, here are a few design features:

Glance as Entry Point

Navigating the honeycomb home screen is complicated and takes time. The easier way to launch an app is through a glance. iPeng’s glance shows you a “NowPlaying” screen, tapping it takes you to the app.

Currently, WatchKit glances can’t contain any active elements, so there are no buttons or other controls even though we would love to be able to have them.

Scrolling Track Titles with Custom Font

Apple’s system font on the watch is optimized for legibility at small font sizes. You can get a maximum number of (legible) rows on the display this way, but it’s not the optimum solution if – like in iPeng’s case – all you want to display are one or two rows of track title and that quickly exceeds the width of the display. So iPeng uses a different font with a smaller run width and uses a bigger character size instead.

Long titles scroll like on iPhone

To be able to show longer titles, the title label scrolls.

Page-Based Layout

iPeng uses a page-based layout, not a hierarchical menu structure. This is familiar from the layout of the “NowPlaying” screen on iPhone, but on the Apple Watch it’s actually a more important decision. Page-based apps cannot have a hierarchical menu like the main menu on iPhone, so that option is no longer available for additional functionality (like search). But a hierarchical structure would have meant it takes longer to get to the “NowPlaying” screen – not a good idea for a functionality you are probably going to use 90% of the time.

iPeng places the most important features right in front even if it means less often used features might be more difficult to access.


iPeng will sometimes trade perfect information for speed of access. On iPhone, iPeng will keep a permanent connection to the server, allowing iPeng to track a lot of states and always be aware of what’s going on with your Squeezeboxes. But establishing this connection takes seven seconds on average. Add a few seconds for the app launch and you end up with a time well in excess of the overall time you wanted to interact at all. So iPeng on the watch will always try to use the quickest way to access information or execute a command. Sometimes this means some information is limited or updates later (e.g. artwork), but at the same time it means it’s probably the fastest remote control app you’ve got around.

The Future

The Apple Watch is a very new product, we will see how it evolves in the future and what kind of usage schemes evolve, but right now I believe iPeng is giving you a really good UI for the quick control of your players on your wrist.

Apple also already announced watchOS 2.0 for this fall and it brings some changes, the most important of which is that Apps will actually run on the Watch, not the iPhone. This will probably help with performance for some features but might even hurt for others (everything requiring direct communication with the parent App on the iPhone will actually take longer to execute). Overall, I would not expect the biggest impact to be through faster loading times and access to the crown.


Watch Out for iPeng 8.2 Sun, 07 Jun 2015 17:15:35 +0000 The release of the Apple Watch in April brought some new chances and challenges for iPeng, too: How could we realize a quickly manageable version of iPeng for the watch making the best use of its UI (which is like no other UI before attuned to the presence of the user), and which would be the most important use cases with iPeng?

Well, the biggest advantage (compared to the iPhone) of this “most personal device Apple has ever designed” certainly lies in its availability and the easy access to information and menu content it provides. Apple Watch has been designed to be worn, thus it offers the chance to simplify daily, frequent actions and interactions that are related to functions users care about the most. On the other hand, it implies a lot of limitations and restrictions (with regards to space, speed etc.), and besides that, the creation of Apps is limited by the capabilities WatchKit offers.

iPeng on Apple Watch: Glance, Main Screen, Current Playlist

So, for the first version of iPeng for iWatch, we decided to concentrate on the following (and in our eyes basic) functions:

  • a “NowPlaying Screen” with info about the currently playing title; play-/pause-, skip to next-/previous track- and volume-buttons;
  • a current playlist to show and select tracks;
  • a context menu with two functions:
    • Choose Player. You can use “Select Player“ or “QuickSwitch“ to continue listening in another room;
    • Switch Players on/off. You can either only switch a single player off or switch off all players (“Leave Home”-function);
  • a “Glance”, giving you a quick overview of what’s currently playing and a simplified way to launch the App.

As you will notice, familiar iPeng features have been preserved, like the volume control for synchronized groups for instance: If you control a group of synced players, all players will change the volume, not just one.  The popular QuickSwitch feature, too, will work with the Apple Watch.

We expect that the most frequent use cases will be to quickly start or stop music on a player, go to the next track, or change the volume without having to look for your iPhone. Within your own WiFi -Network, you don’t even need to have your iPhone with you, which makes the whole thing even more interesting (because you can use it in different rooms).

Switch Player Sequence

Please let us know what you’d like to see in iPeng on the watch!

We are going to maintain and further improve the app in the future, at the moment features like a search- and favorites-function are planned, further (possible) features could be:

  • ratings, adding tracks to favorites, “love”ing tracks etc.;
  • changing shuffle- and repeat-states for the current playlist.

Feel free to tell us your suggestions with regards to preferred use cases and let us know how iPeng works with Apple Watch for you!

As usual: Have fun with iPeng on your Apple Watch!

iPeng ue Grows Up to Version 8 Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:47:47 +0000 iPeng ue
iPeng ue, the iPeng App for the Logitech UE™ Smart Radio, has now also taken the step to version number 8. This means, it adopts the iOS 7/8 user interface already familiar to iPeng for Squeezebox users as well as some new features.

Download on the App StoreiOS 7/8 Look-And-Feel

Version 1.x of iPeng ue was still based on the old iOS 6 user interface design. With version 8, the interface scheme now adopts the new UI design in line with the modern iOS versions.
And it  got quite a beautiful redesign, too.

Dark and Bright Color Scheme

By popular demand, iPeng ue now features a dark and a light color scheme – you’ve  got the choice. And by default, it will always select the most appropriate scheme, based on your current lighting conditions.

Redesigned iPad User Interface

iPeng ue’s iPad user interface got a complete redesign. Player- and playlist-related controls have been separated out to different bars at the top and bottom of the screen, there are no “hidden” controls anymore (yet there still are convenience gestures, actually a lot of them!), and the whole screen layout got tidied up.

In landscape mode you can now pin down the current playlist to permanently show it next to the library content, and the content window can be scaled to show even more of the gorgeous views iPeng uses to present your music library and other content.

Full support of the new iPhone 6/6 Plus form factors

The new NowPlaying screen makes use of the additional space available on the new, larger phones.

And for the current playlist, iPeng ue now shows thumbnails in portrait mode. And finally, on iPhone 6 and 6Plus, there is a new landscape mode NowPlaying screen that shows the current playlist alongside the album cover in a beautiful layout.

Fully Customizable Main Menu

A lot of users have asked to be able to change their main menu structure to have other menu items on their home menu or hide things they don’t need. iPeng ue now allows you to do that through a simple drag-and-drop interface.

New MultiPlayer Control

The MultiPlayer Control, used to select players and music sources and to manage synchronization, has been redesigned to structure it better and to make changes more easy and transparent.

Other New Features

Other new features include the capability to edit stored playlists, an improved sharing functionality and a direct swipe-to-delete playlist editing.

It’s a Free Update

And the best news: It’s a free update for existing users of iPeng ue. Unlike iPeng 8 for the Squeezebox, this is not a new App but an update of the existing one. iPeng ue has seen much fewer updates than iPeng Classic since it was initially released, and it has also always been a universal App for iPhone and iPad, so we chose to make it just an update.

The restriction that this version only works on iOS 7 and newer still applies, though – users of devices with older iOS versions (since iOS 5) can still download the old iPeng ue through the App Store.

Have fun!