iPod: My Wishlist

by Derek Vadala


I've had my iPod for about a week now and I have to say it's probably the best tech toy I've ever owned-- even possibly the best overall purchase I've made to date. I just hope that Apple follows up this great product with the add-ons we are all expecting. Here's my take on what accessories Apple should release for the iPod.

iBase Enhanced

The base station is a great feature. I especially appreciate having a line out jack. I've got my base connected to the stereo in the living room. My roommate has his connected to a 17" iMac. This makes it really easy to sync up the iPod and walk over to the stereo and play music from the iPod on a good set of speakers and amplifier.

But the base station is missing some things. First off I want a digital optical output. Second, I want a wireless remote control. Now this one is going to be a trick since generally stereo components don't communicate with each other very easily. Even with a wireless remote, how can I tell which album or track I'm playing. After all, I can't really see the iPod's display from the couch, or my desk. So for this enhanced base station I'll settle for just generic track skipping support. I know Apple can do better though.

iControl: The Apple Universal Remote

Why not? They did a stellar job on the iPod. I've seen a lot of high-end universal remotes and they're all lacking. I think Apple could do a great job if it stepped up in this arena. Imagine a two-way remote that could display information from the iPod and then also imagine a great OS X application to manage all of the remotes nifty features. The remote of course integrates with all my other home audio and video equipment, including my new enhanced base station.

iRecord

This is the obvious contender. Users that have experimented with the iPod's diagnostic mode have already uncovered a bare bones recording feature. It's my guess that Apple will release audio recording features for iPod soon. I'm really looking forward to this. Here's my feature request list:


  • Let us record in an uncompressed audio format.
  • Don't limit the recording time per track (except in light of disk space requirements).
  • Allow us to record in stereo.


While most people will probably use this feature to record voice memos I can think of a few other applications. Recording meetings, or classes, for starters. Recording live music is high on my list (with the band's permission, of course). I'm also hoping to be able to use my iPod as a secondary audio source for digital film making. Why lug around a portable DAT recorder when you can use the iPod for such tasks. Even better is the fact that the small size of the iPod will make for easy wearable recorders for micing actors and that will be double plus good.

I think that should keep Steve and company busy for a bit.

What other iPod add-ons do you want to see?


26 Comments

anonymous2
2003-05-09 17:01:50
DRM and Optical out?
Do these two go together?
Derek Vadala
2003-05-09 17:09:31
DRM and Optical out?
I guess that depends on how you look at it. I've only got MP3s on my iPod. It's pretty easy for me to get them out of the iPod, or out of iTune4 and into any other program I want to use them in.


Would having optical out on the base really make piracy easier? I think copying songs via that interface would be a real hassle and I really doubt it would increase piracy at all. But that's just me.

maarky
2003-05-09 17:54:18
camera sync
The iPod is more than a music player, it's also a portable hard drive. I think it would be great if you could connect a camera or a memory card reader and copy all the files over to the iPod, then move them into your Pictures folder (or wherever, even directly into iPhoto if you want) when you sync it with your computer. I can easily take 150 pictures during a week long backpacking trip and being able to move them over to an iPod would allow me to take even more pictures at a higher quality setting (like tiff rather than jpg) without having to use more than 2 memory cards, maybe even just 1. I don't understand why they haven't done this already because it would fit in so well with their digital hub thing. This is what I'm waiting for before I buy an iPod.
anonymous2
2003-05-09 18:37:12
Interesting wish list
Go over to macwhispers.com, and you'll see you're not the only one with ideas.


As far as optical digital out goes, protected content can be sent out, but there's a bit that says "do not copy" ? most DVD soundtracks work this way.


I would also hope for the new consumer A/V interconnect standard to be supported as output on the FireWire ports.

anonymous2
2003-05-09 21:44:13
Re: the best remote
This isn't what you're asking for, but it easily compares: iTunes mode using bluetooth on a Sony-Ericsson T68i, together with Jonas Salling's Clicker software to control iTunes (or anything else scriptable for that matter).


Hook your Mac up to the stereo instead of the iPod base, and you'll have absolute control of your music remotely: Playlists, search, play/pause, volume, and more. You really have to see this in person to appreciate just how cool it is - mindblowing.

anonymous2
2003-05-10 09:04:17
A few more for the wishlist (Really cool ones)
I wish that the iPod had Bluetooth in it. This way it would work with bluetooth headphones and bluetooth phones. Since the iPod already has my contacts in it, why not let it dial my bluetooth capable phone?


Also has the added benefit of providing a readily available synching system so if I have an MP3 and you have an MP3 we can swap MP3s just from our iPods - similar to the way Palm allowed Palm owners to swap business cards with ease.


Apple could then partner with folks in the car stereo business to get the iPod to sync wirelessly with them :)


Derek Vadala
2003-05-10 09:19:30
A few more for the wishlist (Really cool ones)
Bluetooth is a good call. In fact the option for wireless connectivity in general would be nice. I'd prefer that Apple provide the option to use a compact flash 802.11 or Bluetooth card rather than locking the end-user into one or the other.


I doubt we'll see this as an add-on, but I wouldn't be surprised to see wireless show up in the next incarnation of the iPod.


MP3 swapping isn't going to happen. Apple is already thinly treading around the claws of the RIAA. They've taken measures to 'discourage' this kind of behaviour and so I don't think they'll ever add this sort of support.


That being said, I imagine that if future iPods do support wireless connectivity, someone will develop a file sharing hack.


Derek Vadala

Derek Vadala
2003-05-10 09:24:05
camera sync
That's a good feature I hadn't really thought of. I have a Powershot S400 and even with a 256 MB compact flash card I can only take about 120 shots. That's find for day-to-day use, but if I were travel for an extended period of time, then I would need additional memory cards. I would also much rather be able to transfer the pictures into my iPod (which I would also likely have with me on any trip).


A friend of mine suggested that being able to capture video from a digital video camera directly to the iPod would be a nice function too.

Derek Vadala
2003-05-10 09:26:54
Re: the best remote
I just looked through Salling's pages. I don't have a T68i, but this is an even bigger incentve to get a bluetooth enabled phone the next time around.


Jonas Salling's Clicker page:


http://homepage.mac.com/jonassalling/Shareware/Clicker/index.html

anonymous2
2003-05-10 09:30:13
COLOR
I love the album art feature in iTunes and would like to see that on the next COLOR iPod. Of course playing music video's would be OK too.
Derek Vadala
2003-05-10 09:31:12
Interesting wish list
It does seem that the enhanced base station idea (others are calling it iDock) is on the radar. Mac Whisper's even claims they have overseas reports that the manufacturing cycle has already begun.


Someone suggested it might have the ability to output visuals to your television.

Derek Vadala
2003-05-10 09:36:20
COLOR
Some folks over at Mac Whispers suggested that outputting album art and information to a television might be a feature of the upcoming iDock/iBase Enhanced.


A color screen with the ability to display album art on the iPod would be a great future enhancement too, although I've found that it can be a bit tedious to get album art into iTunes. I was hoping for an easier way to click on an image (say from allmusic.com) and then be prompted with an "Add Album Art to iTunes" message.

anonymous2
2003-05-10 15:01:30
camera sync
Let me add my vote for this feature. I have been wondering why Apple has not done it. It would fit in so nicely with the digital hub idea and the the ads with the Canon PowerShot digital camera. It would also sell their large capacity iPods. Seems like it would be simple software solution and possibly even a FireWire card reader that will plug in.
anonymous2
2003-05-11 04:20:22
iPod wishlist
I would like to have the Firewire connector back. With new iPods you have to carry the iPod to FW cable with you to be able to use it as a harddrive or trickle charge it. With the old model you could use any avaliable firewire cable. Much more convenient! The ultimate iPod3 accessory would be a carrting case with a built in convertor from proprietary connector to FW.
anonymous2
2003-05-11 16:15:54
COLOR
No offense, but do I REALLY want to stare at an album cover for four minutes?? On my televison?? I have porn or CNN or Sci Fi there! What is this obsession with cover art anyway? I listen to music that means something to me and often just close my eyes an "see" the memories the music brings.
anonymous2
2003-05-11 21:05:05
Autolinked notes!
VoodooPad (http://www.flyingmeat.com/voodoopad.html) exports it's desktop wiki files to hyperlinked notes on the new ones - pretty nice. Still a tad rough (it's alpha), but it looks like it's got great possibilities.
Derek Vadala
2003-05-12 07:36:56
Autolinked notes!
Too bad it's not open source.
Derek Vadala
2003-05-12 07:40:57
COLOR
Well I for one would like to be able to output album art and a track listing, and perhaps even album details onto my television or other display. This is already a neat feature of many cable/satellite radio channels.


As far as "this obession with cover art", if you're not into ablum art, don't look at it. Since there are already murmurs of a new base station that will support output of cthugha style visual, I sort of doubt that including a feature like this would supercede other less frivolous features-- if that's what you are so worried about.

maarky
2003-05-13 04:26:54
A few more for the wishlist (Really cool ones)
How about Bluetooth and Rendezvous. That way you could look up and play songs on other people's iPods who are nearby, like on the train or something. Of course you'd lose the song when they get off the train. Maybe make it so that you can play songs on other ipods without being able to actually copy them in order to appease copyright holders.
anonymous2
2003-05-14 06:01:10
COLOR
"""I was hoping for an easier way to click on an image (say from allmusic.com) and then be prompted with an "Add Album Art to iTunes" message."""


Just drag the image from allmusic.com to the artwork pane.
Easy enough? :)

anonymous2
2003-05-14 23:23:51
FM/AM Tivo-like Radio
My CD/mp3 collection is limited and do love to listen to the radio. First of all, add AM/FM radio. Secondly, the hard drive can make a Tivo-for-Radio.
/Jan
anonymous2
2003-06-01 10:16:10
SCROLLING album titles in BROWSE menu
Ok, this has been bothering me for a bit now... Wouldn't it be great to have an album title (and any other criteria depending on the menu you're in: artist name, genre, etc) SCROLL when it is selected (highlighted) in the browse menu? I mean, most albums aren't 10 or so characters long!


Also, the On-The-Go Playlist editor is A MUST. Man oh man, it's time this came out.

anonymous2
2003-06-19 20:27:55
Portable Harddisk Recording Already Here
Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox 3 is a 20GB or 40GB recorder in stereo with level controls, meters, in WAV at 11, 22, 44.1 or 48 or MP3 up to 320 or WMA. Firewire and USB to/from Computer. Headphones, Line1 and 2 out for surround sound, all EAX modes built in. With rebates $200 on the web... I love it.
anonymous2
2003-11-14 00:04:11
SCROLLING album titles in BROWSE menu
Yeah, this is definitely high on my wishlist. A lot of my album titles are longer than the display and it has struck me as odd that the song title will scroll in Now Playing, but the album or artist doesn't.
anonymous2
2003-12-01 17:02:14
FM/AM Tivo-like Radio
Ditto. I want an FM tuner. Good addition since you can use it at the Gym to listen to the local broadcasts, or to pick up news when you're not listening to music. And an ability to program it to record my favorite shows off NPR on a weekly schedule. An FM transmitter built-in would be nice, but the external one I've got works okay. How about a small built-in speaker though?
Derek Vadala
2003-12-01 17:18:23
FM/AM Tivo-like Radio
I wouldn't be surprised if a company like Griffin (the iTrip guys) made an add-on like this in the future. Also, considering that most other iPod competition comes stock with an AM/FM tuner, I wouldn't be too surprised if Apple's next version of the iPod has one built in.


Derek Vadala