The iOS iPod app has been the cause of many music app spinoffs in the App Store. With Apple renaming the iPod app to “Music” in iOS 5, an even more precise focus has been given to what has already been heralded as the crown jewel of music apps.

While many App Store apps offer unique features and enhancements for the playback of music, NowPlayer stands out as the ultimate music playlist app. It’s unique. It’s fresh. Let’s take a closer look…

NowPlayer does three things very well:

  1. Managing and playing back your music playlists.
  2. Sharing what you’re listening to with friends.
  3. Looking incredibly sexy while doing number 1. and 2.

If you’re like me, you may not understand the need for an app like NowPlayer. I mean, iTunes and the iPod can already do playlists, right?

NowPlayer can be an iPod replacement. It’s an app for those that want an enhanced playlist experience on the iPhone, but it’s also perfect for those that listen to certain sets of songs at once. If you’re about to take a long drive or play music at an event, you’ll see the value of this app immediately.

The first thing NowPlayer will ask you to do is create a playlist from the songs in your iPod (or Music) app’s library. In the app’s latest update, you can randomly create a playlist as well.

Once you’ve added your playlist, NowPlayer begins to work its magic. You’ll notice that NowPlayer looks better than any other music playback app you’ve ever used — and all those looks can be customized in the app’s settings.

Some of the design customization includes:

– 2 UI themes
– 7 Album Artwork themes
– 8 Backgrounds (including choosing your own)
– 4 types of notification systems

The biggest pro to NowPlayer is the ability to control your music through gestures. It just makes sense.

– Two Finger Tap to play/pause, but can be changed to a double tap if you desire
– Three Finger Tap to auto-send a tweet
– Swipe left/right to change tracks
– Swipe up/down to change the volume
– Double tap on the controls area to change shuffle mode

The customizable gestures in NowPlayer make the app too intuitive for its own good. Start swiping and two-finger tapping through tracks and you’ll love it, too.

While playing music is a joy in NowPlayer, the app also goes above and beyond to let you share what you’re listening to with your friends. Few apps do this well, and NowPlayer definitely sets the bar.

You can easily share what you’re listening to on Twitter with the #NowPlaying hashtag (the dev has added support for customized hashtags in the latest update), and there’s also support for Facebook, email, Tumblr, Last.fm and Spotify. All of the sharing features work marvelously, and they stay out of the way if that’s not your thing.

NowPlayer also lets you stream what you’re listening to through AirPlay, which is super useful.

Because I find that I only listen to a certain playlist of tracks anyway on my iPhone, NowPlayer has become my iPod app replacement. If I ever want to freshen up my library with some new tracks I can easily add new stuff from my music library within the app. The gestures in NowPlayer make it a much better playback app for daily use.

NowPlayer’s attention to detail, style, functionality, and overall charm make it a wonderful music app for the iPhone. You can download it for only $0.99 in the App Store. There’s also a free version available with limited features for you to try out.

The developer of NowPlayer has been kind enough to give us 10 free copies to give away! To win your copy of NowPlayer for iPhone, retweet this review to your friends on Twitter. Make sure you’re following iDownloadBlog. We’ll be contacting the winners via Twitter direct message soon.