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Improvements for iPod

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Okay, so let's work with the current iPod:
5GB HD, 1-bit display, FW, audio out.

1. What would you add via software?

2. What would you add via hardware (peripheral)?

Let's think about this... with the iPod, you can put things in, you can work with them in a very basic way, and you can transfer them back to your Mac.

The current things you can put in: Audio, files.

How you can put them in: iTunes (audio) and the Finder (files).

What you can do with them: Listen to and browse audio files only.

It seems there is a lot more that can be done with this great little device; a device that has decent processing power, great storage and upgradable firmware.

I'll start with the first suggestion, one that is both hardware and software.

Imagine a device similar to the Griffin iMic that was FireWire instead of USB, and that had a built-in microphone, and S/PDIF optical input. With a simple firmware update, you could theoretically:

1. Encode voice recordings, sound samples and live music directly to MP3 from the microphone or the analog input.
2. Encode MP3s directly from a digital source (such as a portable CD player) through the optical input (assuming the CD player also has S/PDIF.

What do you think, and what ideas do you have?
post #2 of 33
A Speaker jack
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post #3 of 33
There already is a speaker jack.

My software idea: Pong! It's already got the control wheel to play it with, and imagine how long the battery would last if you were just playing Pong, no MP3s.
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post #4 of 33
VOICE RECORDER!!!

Records directly to MP3/audible format for lectures, meetings, etc... and, records to 48khz AIFF for the musicians out there.
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post #5 of 33
Here's something you could take away, rather than add: The hard drive.

Take out the drive, add in another 32MB or so of RAM, keep all the other features, and sell it for half the current price. Keep the current iPod in the line-up, too, of course.
post #6 of 33
I just want Apple to enable the features it's crippled to appease the recording industry - bidirectional syncing, syncing with more than one Mac, iPod to iPod transfer via FireWire.

Jobs line is a little odd. First he says:
[quote]... stealing music is a behavioral problem more than a technological problem. We believe most people are honest and want to pay for their music.<hr></blockquote>
Which is a great sentiment. Let the recording industry deal with the behavioral problem. But then he adds:
[quote]We just don't want to make it too easy for them not to be.<hr></blockquote>
Hmm.

I wonder what Apple will do if copy protection systems like CDS become the norm in the coming months? The first CDs using it have appeared this month. It effectively kills iTunes and iPod, and the whole MP3 bandwagon Apple climbed aboard two years too late.
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post #7 of 33
I've heard that there are up to six different copy protection schemes in circulation in NA right now, and that most of them break the redbook standard in some way. Will someone hack them now, and quickly, please. I'm not going to buy a disc and have it subject to internet verification, limits to fair use, and tiresome ridiculous forms of verification. I was planning to copy all my CD's to good quality CDR, buy a big changer, plunk them all in, and stash the originals away from everyones grubby (oily) hands. Copy protection likely won't affect that, but what about the future CD's???

Belle, you seem to know about this stuff, where's the best site on the net to find copy-protection work-arounds?
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post #8 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by Matsu:
<strong>Belle, you seem to know about this stuff, where's the best site on the net to find copy-protection work-arounds?</strong><hr></blockquote>
Hmm, no idea, Matsu. I've never looked. Most copy protection schemes are a cinch to get round. You can bypass CDS with a few lines of Perl. The problem is that companies like Apple can't rely on hackers to provide functionality. And it's going to get worse - at the moment the main force of the recording industry is aimed at CDs. In the coming months, as DVD writers become more widespread, the usefulness of the devices and software like iDVD and DVD Studio Pro is going to become questionable as studios look beyond the current macrovision protection and annoying regional coding.
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post #9 of 33
How about a radio tuner. It would not add much cost, and would eliminate the need for a walkman.
post #10 of 33
An on wire remote control like those included with MD players would be awesome. It would have a play/stop, ff, rew, and volume control buttons. It could also have a small lcd for track time and title info. That way, could control the iPod without taking it out of my pocket or bag, and using one hand to boot!
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post #11 of 33
What functionality could be added to the iPod as it stands now via a simple software patch?

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post #12 of 33
I'd suggest putting in a QuickTime management system. Why stop at MP3s? Let the user take their iMovies with them (on the iPod side, not the HD side, so to speak) and share them with people. If the horsepower is not there for full fledged movies being shown in some way, they still could manage them somehow. How hard would it be to use the Infrared link that sony allows video to be shown on their tv? So, beam some video to sony's laserlink-enabled televisions. You'd just have to pass the 'stream' not actually do videocard-type viewing on the iPod.

Just some thoughts.
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post #13 of 33
I'd add the ability to receive data from more sources such as digital cameras equiped with FW ports. Go on a vacation, bring your iPod and your FW digital camera. Fill up the 32MB card on the camera, then download the images to the iPod. Repeat as necessary. Would fit right in with the digital lifestyle and the ambiguous naming of the iPod.

An iPod, should be a Pod for more things than Music.
post #14 of 33
I don't know about features, but for starters I'd remove the silly requirement for a powered FireWire bus just to transfer files. Sure, you need that to power it via FireWire, but for some reason the iPod won't accept transfer from a non-powered bus.

That's silly.

And as for copy protection, I wouldn't be too worried. Hackers are always one step ahead.
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post #15 of 33
Yeah, but hackers' work is never that widely disseminated relative to the general public, nor that readily available: how many personal computers and CD burners out there can run a few lines of Perl, right now? Not only that, but the legality of distributing the source code is hanging on the DeCSS lawsuit currently in progress.

My hopes lie with the courts. A California Appeals Court has already fired an important salvo in removing the preliminary injunction against publishing the DeCSS code (citing it as prior restraint of free speech). I'm hoping that encryption, in toto, is judged to be prior restraint, along with the bulk of the DMCA. That would undo a lot of damage right there, and doom the DMCA's successor, which is currently lurking in Congress. Once that's done, the hacks are all legal. :cool:

As for the iPod, I can't find much to change. Removal of the CYA features Belle cites would be a good start.

I think that, via firmware, you could upload a DVD into an iPod and have it recognize the chapters and sections, navigate through them and stream them over FireWire to a Mac or FW-aware DVD player. That would be cool.

[ 11-19-2001: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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post #16 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by foamy:
<strong>I'd add the ability to receive data from more sources such as digital cameras equiped with FW ports. Go on a vacation, bring your iPod and your FW digital camera. Fill up the 32MB card on the camera, then download the images to the iPod. Repeat as necessary. Would fit right in with the digital lifestyle and the ambiguous naming of the iPod.

An iPod, should be a Pod for more things than Music.</strong><hr></blockquote>

You can already do this. Read the iPod FAQ page. :cool:
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post #17 of 33
Wow, there are many great suggestions above:

1. Radio Tuner (Better yet: World Band Radio or XM Satellite Radio)
2. QT Management System: Audio (mp3), Video (.mov from iMovie)
3. 8-bit Display: Play Movies, Games, iTunes Surreal interface
4. Games: Pong, Chess,
5. Wireless: Ability to add Airport Card or Bluetooth, etc.
6. Voice Recording: (inc Optional Add on Mic)
7. Faster and Bigger Drive (They get smaller and faster and cheaper) to handle apps
8. Email & Instant Messaging (like Blackberry). Use for when you go to Airwave, WiFi or Surf & Sip Airport Hub locations

The term iPod implies so many universal purposes.

I think for apple strategy of the digital hub the key tech and apps they have and control are FW, QT, Airport, and their iApps (iTunes, iMoves, etc), their ease of use, their design, their brand.

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post #18 of 33
Originally posted by tonton:
[quote]Okay, so let's work with the current iPod:
5GB HD, 1-bit display, FW, audio out.
2. What would you add via hardware (peripheral)?
<hr></blockquote>

I would want it to get an 8Bit, 640x480 Display, some way to attach an external monitor and a keyboard (possibly both via FW) so I could use it as a portable digital wallet to carry around my email and be able to work on basic stuff en route or at different locations.
It would need a basic version of MacOS-X for this (without Classic).
post #19 of 33
A few things apple could definatly do for iPod 2:

* FM Tuner
* FM Transmitter (transmit to an unused FM station to make car "un"hook-up easy.)
* Bass/Treble control.
* Equalizer
* Crossfader
* 10 gig drive
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post #20 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by Smircle:
<strong>Originally posted by tonton:


I would want it to get an 8Bit, 640x480 Display, some way to attach an external monitor and a keyboard (possibly both via FW) so I could use it as a portable digital wallet to carry around my email and be able to work on basic stuff en route or at different locations.
It would need a basic version of MacOS-X for this (without Classic).</strong><hr></blockquote>

Basically goodbye iPod, hello Newton2.

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post #21 of 33
not exactly hardware but I would like the option of compressing MP3s on the fly as they are transferred from mac to iPod. On my Mac I like to keep high bit rate MP3s but on the iPod I would like them to be 160. if they could lower the bitrate of the songs as they transferred it would be great
post #22 of 33
The iPod does need hardware expansion in the form of an FM / AM (for sports) tuner. An add-on that would plug into the firewire / headphone jack on the top of the unit and replicate the ports on top. I would think that this is a great opportunity for a developer. I would pay $50 for this add-on feature and get rid of my walkman.
post #23 of 33
what about new games? Breakout for it´s alone suxx after a while...well that´s what I think...
post #24 of 33
I just want a blue display and a 10gig HD. If Apple includes these two things in the next revision I will immediately buy an iPod. No matter what price.

edit: grammar fixes

[ 11-26-2001: Message edited by: Infinite Void ]</p>
post #25 of 33
I just want an iPod that costs $250 or less.
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post #26 of 33
The iPod will never have more than a 5 gigabyte HD. Who needs more than 1000 songs? The price would go up if they did that, we all want the price to go down.
post #27 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by Macintosh:
<strong>The iPod will never have more than a 5 gigabyte HD. Who needs more than 1000 songs? The price would go up if they did that, we all want the price to go down.</strong><hr></blockquote>

sure it will. cost of components goes down overtime. 5GB HD will get cheaper. a 10GB will become available for the old price, etc.
post #28 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by Macintosh:
<strong>The iPod will never have more than a 5 gigabyte HD. Who needs more than 1000 songs? The price would go up if they did that, we all want the price to go down.</strong><hr></blockquote>

You're right, probably no one would need more than 1000 songs. But still, once Apple can they'll give it a bigger HD. Even if it only makes them look better.
post #29 of 33
I have more than a thousand songs in my MP3 library. Then again, they occupy 3 day's worth of music, and the iPod's 10 hr battery canot hope to hold out for that long. Blah////
post #30 of 33
I think the iPod just needs a few improvements:
  • Cheaper (like $50 - $100 cheaper)
  • 16 bit display (so it can play iMovies/QuickTime Movies)
  • Slightly larger HD (7 gigs)
  • Make it Windows compatible
  • No more copy protection (I think you can just fix it by making the Music folder visible in the root directory)
  • More games
  • Make more accessories for it
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post #31 of 33
The portalplayer chipset (arm based) that runs the ipod supports mp3 encoding at up to 320b/s. I think this is an obvious in for the next version of ipod. I hope apple implements it with an external mic plug with an adjustable recording level. This guy would be great for recording live in small spaces.

check out the chipset specs at
<a href="http://www.portalplayer.com" target="_blank">web page</a>
pretty cool stuff.
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post #32 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by mqa:
<strong>An on wire remote control like those included with MD players would be awesome.</strong><hr></blockquote>

rumor is that they exist now, or soon will. there are contacts around the headphone jack just like portable MD players. people have also reported there is a space in the packaging (anyone have a pict of the packing? picts of the contacts are on mosr.com ) that was empty and approx the size of an inline romote device. the picts of the contacts dont look nearly as obvious as any of the portable MD players i have owned or played with, but they do seem to be there for something. because those contacts are attached to the analog output, i dont see much else they are for. any digital connections would go through firewire port.
post #33 of 33
[quote]Originally posted by nonhuman:
<strong>There already is a speaker jack.

My software idea: Pong! It's already got the control wheel to play it with, and imagine how long the battery would last if you were just playing Pong, no MP3s.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Actually there is a game on the iPod. Brickels! (sorta-like Pong) It's an easter egg in the menu. (Sorry I forgot the activation code. It's something like hold down the center button and select "About" in the menu.)

[ 11-28-2001: Message edited by: Ebby ]

[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: Ebby ]</p>
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