I do not have an iPod so what exactly can i talk about it anywayz, but there i am again. I want to make a rant, so…
I am guessing the real thing about the iPod is not that it is a good marketing product (in the sense of “answering a real need in consumers”) but actually an product that provokes addicted behaviour.
Browsing the “music collection” with this touch-sensitive round control (the “click wheel”) is very, very sensual. It is dazzling the first time around, isn’t it? It is pleasurable.
Just like having a candy, for example.
Now OK, after the first impression, you discover that, well, yes, it is relatively simple to navigate amongst all your songs with the control, and you can find some specific songs. The strange thing is: after you put anything to play, it defaults to playing whatever else was in the active view where you found the music. It will play the album, or something like it, in it’s whole.
What is the thing strangely lacking?
Everything else is in your face in this interface, the obvious things to do are all there by default, but no where you can find a “play this after the current song”. Obvious. Simple. Necessary. But it is not there?
Now i do not think this is on purpose. I do not think Ive is some evil mastermind making devious plans for conquering the world. But the consequence is obvious: you are always flung back to the addictive behaviour of scrolling that wheel thing.
In other words, it is a moderately pleasurable experience, but also a bit pointless, that you are made to come back to over and over again. So the iPod is not successful for making listeners lives easier, but instead for making them addicted to browsing their music library. And they even have the excuse that they are actually listening to music.
I realize that, actually, this is kind of stupid. But i do not understand how no one asks about iPod’s miserable playlist control. It is the obvious killer app for the music player, so why not have it in the only model that allegedly has a decent interface?
Obviously, there are playlists in the iPod. You make them in iTunes and they appear on the iPod. But the very point of the iPod is to have your collection in your hands. People like to shuffle their music. I even have friends who shuffle their entire collection by default. So why does the iPod almost force you to always listen to things separately?
It is alright to try to simplify, but cutting playlist control is not simplification, it is downright stupidification of the interface. On the other hand, it makes people addicted to surfing their library. And that probably makes for outstanding reviews by iPod fanatics. I guess it is good for sales. But not good for design.