Well I finally made the leap and got a 40 Gb iPod recently. Thanks to RipDigital the process of digitizing my nearly 1000 CDs took only 1 day and I got it all back on a nice new 250 Gb Maxtor external drive (as well as a stack of DVDs containing a backup of all the new MP3s). After a few days of hacking around I got everything working and all my music organized, categorized into playlists and synched with my iPod. I also downloaded a useful little utility that I found on iPod Lounge that enables me to load all my Palm Desktop contacts onto my iPod addressbook too. The iPod is a fantastic innovation that is very well designed. After only a short time using I know I can’t live without it, and I can’t imagine how I surivived for the last year without one. Not only that but iTunes and the Apple Music Store are totally addictive. I’ve already spent quite a bundle on music there. But although the iPod is great, I do have a wishlist of features that I would like to see in a future version of the device and the software. I will list some of my suggestions for improving the iPod here. I will update it from time to time. Feel free to add comments with your own feature suggestions to this posting. Maybe Apple will notice it someday and use some of these ideas.
Improving the iPod Hardware
– The back of the iPod case should not be “chrome” or at least it should be scratchproof. The shiny chrome surface very quickly gets covered with scratches. I think a rubberized black or grey backing would be far more practical and durable.
– The iPod dock should have a toggle button that “locks” the iPod into the dock when it is booted so that it cannot be removed from the dock without “unlocking” it from the dock. This is essential to protect against removing the iPod when in manual synch mode or during a disk operation. When the unlock button is pressed it should cause the disk to stop writing, etc. and instantly eject the iPod so that it can be removed from the dock.
– The iPod wired remote should have a miniclip on it for coiling the wire and clipping it in coiled position for times when the user doesn’t want to wire to be so long.
– Put a wireless LAN chip in the iPod please.
Improving the iPod User Interface
– I find it counterintuitive that the center Select button and the Menu button both operate on Menus. To go into a Menu, which sometimes results in getting a new sub-menu, you use Select. To go out or to get a menu you use “Menu.” But why not just use “Menu” to get a context-menu at any point and then use the scroller to go left or right (in or out) of the menu? That would make more sense. The Select button should only be used to choose a menu item (it is the equivalent of “in” or “right” on the scroller). To go “out” or “left” you could therefore use the scroller or perhaps tap Menu twice instead of once. I think it would be clearer from a UI perspective to seperate the functionality of the Menu and Select buttons.
– There should be a way to adjust the text size, or at least scroll the right in the LCD to view long songnames.
– Why not have an audio menus option? The iPod could store a spoken version of every menu command, and could potentially even speak songnames. This would enable navigation of menus in the dark or without looking at the screen. The iPod should speak the message “battery low” over the current track when playing if the battery is dangerously low.
– From the Now Playing screen it should be possible to add the currently playing song directly to the On-The-Go playlist. Instead, it seems that the user can only add songs to the On-The-Go list by surfing out to the songname in the current playlist and then holding Select on the songname to add it to the list. Why can’t you easily add the currently playing song to the On-The-Go list?
– There should be a way to easily “include” or “exclude” a given album, artist or track from shuffle mode.
– There should be a way to easily assign ratings to an artist, album, or track — not just to a track
– There should be a way to easily add any song to any playlist directly on the iPod — perhaps by clicking Menu on the Now Playing screen to get a menu of options for that song (rather than causing the parent-menu to open)
– There should be a way to easily save the “Recently played” smartlist (or in fact any playlist) as a new playlist with a different name that can then be easily edited.
– There should be an easy way to rate the currently playing song, or any song, from the iPod remote.
– The Apple Music store, or someone else, should make a service that you can synch iTunes and/or your iPod with that updates all your music metadata and album art.