It doesn’t. It’s the only possible explanation. [1]

This is my iPod Touch from 2012:

Screenshot of the music app of an iPod Touch. It's displaying the cover of the album 'Who\'s Next', by The Who. The cover is touching the edges of the screen.

This is my iPhone SE from 2016 (which I’m still rocking to this day):

Screenshot of the music app of an iPhone. It's displaying the same album cover. But the cover is not touching the edges of the screen.

Look at the size of this album cover. Why isn’t it touching the edges of the screen? Why can’t I read the album name from the cover? [2] And why can’t I see that The Who took a piss on the monolith?

Oh, and if you pause the player the image gets even smaller:

Screenshot of the music app of an iPhone SE, when the player is paused. It's displaying the same album cover. But the cover is now even smaller.

Why? So much creativity, imagination and artistry thrown in the bin for no good reason.

One more example. This is my iPod Touch’s lock screen:

Screenshot of the lock screen of an iPod Touch while music is playing. It's displaying the cover of the album 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's Who I'm Not', by The Artic Monkeys. The cover is filling the entire screen.

And this is my iPhone’s:

Screenshot of the lock screen of an iPhone SE while music is playing. It's displaying a tiny, tiny cover of the album 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's Who I'm Not', by The Artic Monkeys. In the UI it's impossible to read the full name of the band or of the album.

I know that an iPhone is more than an iPod. Showing a customizable background in the lock screen is a plus for personalization and individuality. Showing the day of the month and of the week is useful. I get it.

But why is “iPhone” written above the name of the song? What is the airplay icon doing there? Why can’t I read the name of the band? Why can’t I read the name of the song?! And why is the cover so, so small?

What’s more galling is that this is coming from the company that invented (or at least made popular) Cover Flow.

Photograph of Steve Jobs on a stage showcasing cover flow on an iPhone.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this wow factor was a key point in my decision to buy an iPod touch when it came out. Now, Cover Flow no longer exists and cover art has never been smaller.

The fact of the matter is that nobody cares about cover art. Including the company that invented the iPod.

  1. Well, another possible explanation is that Apple doesn’t care about small iPhones anymore. It’s probably both.

  2. And why can’t I see the album name anywhere on the UI?