Five things the next iPod software version needs to have

by Harold Martin

Here's five things Apple could put in the next update to the iPod's software that would make it a music power tool (in order of how much I want them):

1. Line-in recording

iPod hackers have shown that the iPod is capable of recording a few seconds of audio through it's headphone port. Being able to record through this port as actual line in would enable you to record pure audio whenever you could get a line. No, the current voice recorder doesn't count.

2. Multi-band on-the-go EQ

A 'Manual' item in the EQ menu would bring up a interface that had a few (say, five) vertical bars that could be chosen with the scroll wheel, selected, then adjusted with the scroll wheel.

3. On-The-Go playlist reordering

The On-The-Go playlist is great, but I'd like to be able to reorder the songs in it. You could choose a song by holding down the Select button (which is how songs are put in the On-The-Go playlist in the first place). Then once the song was selected the scroll would be used to move it up and down in the playlist, pressing the Select button again would set it.

4. Playlist resorting

When a playlist was selected, holding down certain buttons (the Forward and Backward buttons, for example) would bring up a menu the would allow sorting according to various criteria, like Artist, Song Name, My Rating, etc.

5. Playlist Folders

This would allow all related playlists (Soft Rock, Metal Rock, etc.) to be put in a single folder (Rock). Browsing through dozens of playlists would then be a breeze instead of a pain.

A great thing about all these changes is that they don't complicate or clutter the interface for those who don't want to use them.

Here's to iPod software version 3.0!

What would you like to see in the next iPod software?


2004-01-22 10:19:49
How about a file browser?
How about a file browser? I know there is a hack to make a file browser, but how about an Apple supplied one so that users can see what files they are toting besides their music?
2004-01-22 12:29:56
More suggestions
- An easy way to turn shuffle on and off

- If I'm listening to all of my songs in shuffle mode, and I hear one I really like, an easy way to play the rest of the songs on that album

- A way to change the rating of a song through the iPod, and synching of that information back to iTunes

2004-01-22 15:05:17
No more stinking wired headphones.
2004-01-22 16:35:17
More suggestions
The iPod can already change the rating of a song and synch it back to iTunes.
2004-01-22 18:22:06
clickable Now Playing
I think you should be able to scroll up and down the Now Playing screen. Clicking on the artist would take you to all the artists songs. Clicking on the album name would take you to that album.

Logical easy escape from shuffle and no additional items in the interface.

2004-01-22 21:57:38
A far simpler request
All I want is to be able to delete songs FROM the iPod.
Two reasons
1. Sometimes I find a track or album i really don't want and would like to zap it on the spot.

2. With the new media reader, you can avoid bringing a laptop on a trip, but you can't make room on your iPod for digital photos without a laptop.

2004-01-22 22:15:26
I concur: deleting essential
I totally agree. From day one, deleting is essential.
Adding songs is relatively easy as a bulk process, but individual songs should be easily deletable during playback (when it's obvious whether you (dis)like the song(s) or not). It's a perfect match.

I haven't run across a situation where I needed more (e.g., photo) space on the road, but I do have another application: deleting voice items from the iPod (e.g., conference on tape, or book on tape). Once it's listened to, it needs to be deleted, or if you just want random play, it'd be nice to delete all non-music.

Plus, when your computer no longer has the same playlist, it's impossible to sync the iPod (the situation I'm in now). It'd be nice if the iPod were a little more self-sufficient with the deleting function.

Great idea. I rate it #1.

2004-01-23 02:55:45
How about video playback .. a la Jukebox
This has been bantered around the gadget magazines for going on half a year now, but including all the things mentioned above (and believe me, bluetooth would be really neat for headphones AND potentially peer to peer sharing ... ) I would really like to see a video iPo9d. Something completely out there in front of everything once again. I liked the suggestion in a uk mag recently that it be the size and shape of the regular iPod but have a single huge screen (one complete side of the iPod). Controls would be touch sensitive on the screen itself, withthe usual hard lock mechanism to turn that off when needed) and display would be in true 16:9 for DVD video playback in landscape.

Still, hasn't everyone got an xmas 2005 list yet ? ;-)

2004-01-23 07:27:33
Playlist folders
Yes! It would be good to make this a known 'most wanted' item, because Apple apparently thinks it's too complicated.
2004-01-23 08:04:27
hyperlinking "Now Playing"
strange so few people mention this: hyperlinking content on the iPod. this would be by far my absolute favourite feature!
I love to listen to a playlist (or often the whole library) in shuffle mode, this way I hear songs I haven't heard in a while. It happens that I have the sudden desire to not only listen to this one song by an artist in my shuffled playlist, but to all songs by that artist - and as of today, this involves taking the iPod out of my pocket and search for that artist.
it's kind of like the little arrow in iTunes where you can nicely jump to the album or artist page of the song you are listening to.
2004-01-23 08:22:12
A must have!!
No pause between tracks!!!
2004-01-23 09:13:40
I concur: deleting essential
Since the iPod is really meant to be a read-only device, and to protect you from accidental deletions, how about marking a song 'inactive' or 'hidden' in some way. That would you say whether you want to filter those out of your list, but the songs still exist. Then, when you get back to your desktop, the next time you sync you can be prompted to delete any/all songs marked deleted from the 'Pod.
2004-01-23 09:28:14
Line-in recording!
I agree that this first choice for me, also. I work a lot with musicians at contra dances, and there is no easy way to record an evening dance. I have a mini-disk recorder, but it records less than an hour before it runs out of space. A big iPod can record an evening, and I could go back later and edit out what I don't want.

As you said, we know the hardware is there to be able to do this, it is just a matter of the software inside allowing us to record our own performances.

2004-01-23 11:24:47
I suggest
That the shuffle command be ignored when you are playing a book or spoken word file.
2004-01-23 11:30:16
How about video playback .. a la Jukebox
Or just the ability to store video files and have video line out to hook up to a monitor alon with the audio.
2004-01-23 11:30:48
How about video playback .. a la Jukebox
Or just the ability to store video files and have video line out to hook up to a monitor along with the audio for viewing.
2004-01-23 11:37:46
A passcode protected folder to keep songs, audiobooks, playlists, recordings from access from others.
2004-01-24 00:25:04
FM/AM & recording
A lot of flash-based players provide built in AM/FM with the ability to record the radio signals.

These features are on so many other systems I can only presume it is simply a chipset and it obviously doesn't cost much so it should be a easy job for Apple to add it in.

This is a no brainer because it would provide a great value-add to a product that currently is priced as a luxury lust-for.

Video I can take or leave but at least you can store those files on the iPod in whatever format you want.

here's hoping!

2004-01-25 01:28:34
Some simple music navigation & management
For all the money they've put into the physical design, I think the UI is missing some basic features:

-- Advancing to next album instead of song ... the Rio/Soul MP3CD players did this by: hit FF, then release, and then hold down FF. This is especially useful in a car or anytime using the remote.

-- Changing the rating on the whole album

-- Changing the genre on a song or album

-- Within a playlist, I'd still like to see by Album, Artist etc. (My playlist aren't really ordered playlists but Smart Playlists as filters by stars and genre)

-- For long artist, album and song names, if I pause on it it should scroll

These are damn trivial and would improve it's usefullness a lot for those of us who are album- rather than song-centric.

2004-01-25 22:33:23
well-designed remote
Given that the iPod's physical and UI designs were simple, effective and obviously well thought-through, I am shocked with the poorly-designed remote. Not only is it counter-intuitive to have buttons aligned in the same direction as the clip, there is no display. Obviously we don't want it to be gigantic in size...and I think Sony did a great job with their remote - so many functions in a simple and well-designed format. And the great thing about it? It's been designed to run horizontal to the clip orientation - more user-friendly IMO.
2004-01-25 23:48:07
Or crossfade betweeb tracks (n/t)
2004-01-26 08:44:14
No pause between tracks on iPod ...
There exists already a request for that feature at the demand aggregation site PublicMind ( Without any publicity it has already 29 people signed up for it. If you want that feature too, please add yourself to the list.
2004-01-26 08:47:29
No pause between tracks on iPod ...
Forgot the direct link to the request:

Sorry, Mark.

2004-01-26 08:56:01
Aggregate the iPod requests ...
Hi iPod Enthusiasts,

This is a great collection of suggestion regarding iPod improvements. Unfortunately in a couple of days these improvement ideas will be buried by other post in weblog land. It is also tough to see how many people would like to see what feature.

You can find the solution for these problems at the demand aggregation site PublicMind ( We had already a request for the removal of the gaps between songs at our site: with no publicity it has already 29 members. Please sign up if you want this to happen too.

There are also two that were not listed here as of yet: Support for the OGG and the FLAG format.

In addition we created a request for every suggestion from this weblog including the comments. You can find them here:

If we missed one it is easy to add your own:

If enough people sign up, Apple will notice and we will influence the future development of the iPod.

For example the top right corner shows which are the most requested features. (No gap followed by OGG support ...)

Let your voice be heard, Mark.

2004-01-26 13:29:12
How about a file browser?
how do you do this hack? where can I find info on it? I have never heard of this...
2004-01-29 01:21:15
Media reader support extended
In fact I bought my iPod not "just for playing music" :-) Of course thats the main application of it. Anyway, I love to have the Belkin media reader in my (photo) rucksack, plus the iPod, while travelling.

Just one large enough CompactFlash card required for a camera like the Nikon D-100, filling it up whith photos and them move em over onto the iPod. How about a color display (like on a Palm Tungsten T2) for reviewing the photos and tossing the bad ones?

I also agree that the possibility of deleting files as well as playlists and songs would be great.

2004-01-30 05:04:43
No pause between tracks on iPod ...
I agree Apple should give us an option where there is no pause between tracks. There some live recordings where the artists are continous between songs. It kind of gets on my nerves when when the iPods plays the songs and will put that gap in there. Until apple can get it together, one solution is to get Toast With Jam software, which will allow you to erase the tracks, thus creating one long file. However
it seems to to me the songs on the iPod should have a slight fade into one another like it does when you play your songs on the computer using iTunes.
2004-02-04 03:00:02
Audio Books
How about a bookmark feature for audio books? Lately I had an audio book on the iPod that was extracted from 6 audio CDs (over 6 hours of spoken words all in all). I mostly listen to books in the evenings, playing music during the day.

It would be great to set a bookmark where I left off at night, to continue the following evening, not just the track, but exactly at the point where I stopped listening. A number of named bookmarks would be handy in case of listening to 2 or 3 different audio books.

2004-04-20 11:16:15
It would be great to be able to transfer your files from the iPod back to the PC...I recently had my PC crash and I lost all my I have an iPod full of songs but cannot transfer them from the iPod to the PC, thus i've lost tons of songs.
Harold Martin
2004-04-20 11:44:17
You can probably find a solution in the iPodlounge Windows software section.
2004-05-02 01:22:56
ipod updates
i would be really good if there was some way of typing on the ipod so you could make your own notes on the ipod on-the-go and you add things to your contacts, calendars and to-do lists as they came up.

well that would be really cool

i can keep hoping

2004-06-25 22:50:49
iPod for audio books
One addition I would love to see is the ability to bookmark. OK, when you stop and restart later, it remembers where you were, but if accidentally jump to the start of the track again, of if you fancy something else for a change, and come back later to what you were listening to, then skipping forward 6 hours, at 20 seconds a time can be a real pain in thr bum.
I would like to be able to add multiple bookmarks to multiple files, and tab through them.
2004-06-26 05:15:29
well-designed remote
I'd go along withn that!
My gripe with the remote is that a single press on the track buttons takes yiou back to the start, or to the next track. On many occasions, I've reached for the pause or volume buttons and accidentally hit "next" or "previous". That might be a "bummer" if you are listening to music, but if you are half way through a 3 hour lecture on physics of philosophy, it wrankles; know what I mean?
2004-06-28 12:47:32
there is another option at
2004-09-04 17:30:24
Once you connect you ipod open it up as a removable hardrive, and in the folder options under tools select show hidden files. An extra folder will pop up, in that folder is a folder with all the data files of your music. From there just copy and paste
2005-04-29 01:04:37
what iTunes needs to have
the next iTunes software that comes out for mac & PC (i have a mac) should let you create a second library so that if 2 people in your family have iPods running from the same computer you don't need to have all of eachothers songs