Thursday, June 25, 2009

iPod with OS 3.0

Being a good Apple customer I of course updated my 1st generation iPod Touch to the latest version of the OS (3.0) made available a few days ago. So far I like the changes very much and will not go into detail about what changed - there are lots of other sites covering things like that.

Nevertheless I wanted to comment on two things in particular, both part of the music player component.

The first one is the multi-speed scrubber. The iPod was my first Apple product and I was eager to find out if the often praised UI designers were really as good as people claimed. I almost immediately got very disappointed with the support for long contents like audiobooks or even some podcasts, because the scrubber control to skip ahead or go back to a specific point in time in the program was unusable for anything longer then maybe 5 minutes. In an audiobook the precision would sometimes only be enough to jump in 30 minute hops - unusable.

When I got a feedback form some time later I complained about that in great detail, even suggesting a virtual click-wheel for more precision. Now, finally, they solved the problem in a different, but cool way. Where in earlier versions you could just move the scrubber left to right with constant speed, they now introduced sort of a "gear shift" (they call it precision scrubbing and highspeed scrubbing). When you move your finger up and down you modify the "seconds per pixel" ratio of the horizontal direction. I personally absolutely love this stuff.

The second thing which caught me a little off guard and which I even suspected to be a bug was that I suddenly had no volume slider anymore. As I had docked and undocked the iPod several times before in a very short period of time I thought it might have somehow gotten confused and now did not render correctly. However when the problem persisted even after a full switch off and back on cycle I was a little worried.

Only then I "found out" I had just not put the headphone jack back in after undocking the iPod. As soon as I plugged it back in, the volume slider would appear - and vanish when pulling it out. A nice idea in general, but definitely the kind of thing that might confuse you, as it definitely wasn't like that in 2.2.

-- posted with Ecto (which is definitely not as eye-pleasing as Windows Live Writer)

1 comment:

Mark said...

The 2X speed and "Rewind 30 seconds" in Podcasts are good feartures. What would be nice is a 1.5X speed.