iPod UI: Love it or hate it?

Summary:I struck a nerve earlier this week with a comment I made about the iPod user interface being tired. The problem I have is that while the hardware has evolved, the iPod's UI hasn't changed much in five years.

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I struck a nerve earlier this week with a comment I made about the iPod user interface being tired. The problem I have is that while the hardware has evolved, the iPod's UI hasn't changed much in five years.

One of the reasons that the iPod is so successful, it can be argued, is because the interface is drop dead simple. So simple in fact that young children and seniors alike can pick it up with ease. This is a point that I'm willing to concede, but if the iPod is going to continue its ascension to the heights of consumer electronics legend, new features need to be added.

For starters, the interface itself is mostly black and white, with the exception of the My Rating stars, the battery icon, progress bar and the album artwork. It would be great to have a couple of Apple designed skins to choose from with different themes. It would be even better if Apple provided an SDK so that people could design their own themes.

It would be great if it were easier to create and edit playlists on the iPod and I'd love to be able to delete a song or playlist on the fly. Scrolling through long lists of artists and songs can be arduous on a full iPod. A search function or type-ahead using a virtual keyboard and intelligent auto-complete would be a great way to easily find a needle in the haystack.

The iPod's "now playing" interface needs an overhaul too. I'd like to be able to customize it to show whatever ID3 tags that I want (BPM, for example). And now that all iPods (save the shuffle) have color displays they should be able to show full-screen album artwork. I know that it could be a battery issue but displaying iTunes visualizers on the iPod would be great too. What about scrolling lyrics?

Meta data is king and I'm a huge proponent of using ID3 tags to organize my music but there's no way to edit this data on the iPod itself - short of changing the rating. I'd like a virtual keyboard that pops up allowing me to edit any of the ID3 tags at any time. Currently I'm forced to change the rating of a song to remind me to correct the ID3 tags later.

I was optimistic back in February when Apple filed a patent for a touch-screen iPod interface. Apple's application shows a landscape-mode iPod running a mini version of iTunes which would be the ideal replacement for the drill-down interface that the iPod currently uses.

What would you change about the iPod UI? Or is it perfect as it is?

Topics: Apple

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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