iPod iDea

I stopped by the recently opened new Apple store here yesterday and saw the iPod mini. It's a beaut! Before yesterday, I would wonder why anyone would buy a 4Gb mini when they can get its 15Gb big brother for only $50 more. I wonder no longer.

Apart from being smaller, it's styling is even better than the original iPod, and Apple has much improved the buttons as well. With mine, I'd often accidentally skip a song by just barely touching the buttons. With the mini, the wheel still works the same, but the buttons (which are now located under the wheel) now need to be pressed down, which should significantly reduce the chance of accidentally pressing them. For people for whom a thousand songs is more than enough, the mini is the perfect choice. I'm not surprised it's sold out everywhere.

What I'd like to see changed about the iPod (mini and maxi) is the menu structure though. While the hierarchical menus makes it very easy to find things, oftentimes it does make you go through a lot of clicks to get there. What I'd like to see added is a context menu: while a song is playing, I want to be able to hold the select button for a couple of seconds to have a menu popup with options related to the current song. Suppose I'm currently listening to "If I was your Girlfriend" by Prince, the popup menu would show:

  • Prince (shortcut to /Artists/Prince)
  • Sign O' the Times (shortcut to /Artists/Prince/Sign O' The Times)
  • Playlists (goes to a listing of Playlists that include this song; this option would only show if such playlists exist)
  • Other versions (goes to a listing of other songs with the same title, like TLC's version or versions on Live albums. Like the "Playlists" option, this one too would only show if such songs are available on your iPod)
  • Add to On-The-Go (for some reason you cannot currently do this when a song is playing)
  • Shuffle (from the Settings menu)
  • Repeat (from the Settings menu)
  • Equalizer (from the Settings menu)

In the small chance someone at Apple reads this, any chance of having this functionality added in the next iPod firmware update?

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I'd really love to have a Repeat button when listening to a song that didn't involve me having to navigate to Settings and back. This is probably the only major UI failing of the iPod I've come across.

PS: When is your blog going to support the CommentAPI?

Posted by Dare Obasanjo at March 28, 2004 2:20 PM

When Movable Type adds CommentAPI support or someone writes a plugin for it I guess...

Posted by Luke Hutteman at March 28, 2004 3:02 PM

Then you should check out, exposing comments in MovableType blogs

Posted by Dare Obasanjo at March 28, 2004 6:48 PM

Sorry, but the ASP.NET hack to allow for CommentAPI support won't work for me as my weblog is hosted on a Linux box.

Posted by Luke Hutteman at March 28, 2004 7:08 PM

Need to be able to a popup menu to link back to liner notes in the iPod's memo area. Than one could read these while plating. Would be nice for reading the libretto of an opera (esp when it is sung in Italien, Frenc or German). Of course iTunes would now need to track notes with a song.

Posted by shaitan at March 29, 2004 10:28 AM

That's such a good idea. There's so many times where I wanted to listen to an album straight through but going to the main menu to turn off song shuffling and then back to Now Playing was a pain. I'd really love to see that exact menu implemented.

Posted by Rob Speicher at March 29, 2004 11:40 AM

Monocultures considered harmless
Luke Hutteman (A New Net Architect, according to the RSS weblog), speaks about RSS.

Trackback from a preponderance of evidence at May 15, 2004 8:13 PM
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