The iPod was far from the first MP3 player on the block. Far from even being the first HD player, for that matter. But it was the first to get everything right in terms of functionality and user interface. Now, other manufacturers are throwing in a kitchen sink full of other goodies to entice consumers away from the iPod. Some of these, like pictures and video, are still novelties that don't truly add much value. But others--think audio ins and outputs and the ability to rename files on the fly--are exceptionally useful.
Based on some of those, here's a list of things we'd like to see in a 5G model:
- Input Field - In Europe, we relied on the data stored in our iPod, in the form of notes and iCal entries, to keep track of all our plane and hotel reservations, mileage, and train schedules. It made it easy to travel without a computer. However, since we couldn't sync on the road, there was no way to input or modify data. The scroll wheel could easily be used to browse an onscreen keyboard. We'd like to be able to use it to add contacts, notes, and calendar entries.
- Bluetooth - And for that matter, Bluetooth integration in the AirPort Express. We want to stream our music wirelessly to our computers and stereos. It would also make syncing address book data with our cell phones a snap. Bluetooth will enable that, although it's also typically a battery killer.
- An FM Tuner - This is old hat on most other players by now. Where is it on the iPod?
- In and Out Lines - It's a natural that a device with this much capacity be used for recording, as well as playing back, music and other audio. We love our voice recorder for the iPod. But we want to record from other sources, as well. And we don't want to have to buy yet another plug in adapter to do it. Lines in and out open up a whole range of recording possibilities for the iPod. From recording live shows to using it as an audio deck while filming, it's a function we think makes sense in this space. Oh yeah. And a built-in mic for voice recording would be pretty sweet, too.
- More Games - How hard would it be to slip a few more simple games into the operating system? We'd like to see something at least along the order of MineSweeper. (Even Zork would be nice.)