With the recent release of the amazing, spectacular, jaw-dropping, terrific, fantastic, awe-inspiring iPad, I want to write a short post about the few things I wish were improved in the one Apple product I own: my 120GB iPod Classic.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPod. It is perhaps my second favorite piece of electronic equipment behind my computer. It is better than my TV, and probably more powerful. But there are some things I wish my iPod did.
First of all, I would really like the ability to “tag” songs like I do mail in Google mail. I hate having to classify songs in one genre or another. I want to put songs or whole albums in more than one category. For example, where do I put albums like The Doors “LA Woman”? That is a blues album, but I have it in the rock list with the rest of The Doors music. And what about The Beastie Boys? Are they rock or rap?
Optimally, I’d like to completely tag an album with all appropriate labels. I would like to label Outkast as “hip-hop” and “Southern rap”. Maybe put Kid Rock in “rock”, “rap”, and “country”. And of course Spinal Tap in “rock”, “metal”, and “the greatest band ever”. But instead I am forced to sort by directories. That’s so 2003.
On a similar note, I wish I could list songs under multiple artists, especially collaborations. Back in 2007, a blog on PCWorld magazine complained about this, claiming “iPods don’t understand multiple artists“. For example, if a song has more than one singer/rapper/guitarist/whatever, I have to either list the song under one person or create an artist label that lists everyone on the track. If I want to listen to every song Method Man has ever been on, I should be able to find Method Man and my iPod will play everything, from solo albums to collaborations with Redman to Wu-Tang albums to one-verse cameos. As long as the song has a “Method Man” tag, it will be played when I select “Method Man”.
Another complaint I have with my iPod is that it lacks the ability to play albums chronologically. When I select an artist or group, it plays the albums in alphabetical order. Why would I want to do that? For example, take a look at how Metallica is sorted on my iPod (release dates in parentheses):
- And Justice For All (1988)
- Death Magnetic (2008)
- Kill Em All (1983)
- Load (1996)
- Master of Puppets (1986)
- ReLoad (1997)
- Ride the Lightning (1984)
- St. Anger (2003)
Why would I want to listen to Metallica in this convoluted order? Why not add an option when I select an artist that allows me to choose between “chronological” or “alphabetical”? Seems simple enough.
Maybe I don’t know how to do this. I am relatively new to the iPod, having gotten my first in late 2008. And I don’t use iTunes either (note: here is a iTunes script for organizing songs chronologically). I’m a Mozilla fan and use Songbird to organize my music. So maybe I am sacrificing some capabilities there. I don’t know.
(By the way, pic is of the iCarta iPod Toilet Paper Dispenser.)