Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Apple's troubles start with video iPod

The new video iPod from Apple will definitely be a mild success. It will be riding on the huge success of the iPod family which is used by millions to listen to lots of music, carry data, and occasionally show and tell about great photographs one has taken. However, to make it another iconic product as the original iPod, designers at Apple must think "big" again.

In each coast-to-coast flight or while waiting for connecting flights at the hubs, you would see many avid movie watchers trying to catch up on latest flicks. These guys are just everywhere - parks, restaurants, and trains. These frequent fliers and mass transit commuters like to see their movies on as big a screen as possible.

Roadblock 1
The biggest roadblock Apple's video iPod going to face is the size of the screen. The screen size is a little too small to have a meaningful display of moving images, it is at best a boy's toy to show around and boast about. Movie watchers may not bother to see a new flick or for that matter their favourite TV show on the new video iPod because of the screen's small size (320 x 240).

Roadblock 2
Movie buffs cannot enjoy the movie "Lord of the rings" with its numerous and detailed wide-angle action sequences on a 4:3 format. This roadblock will not make the video iPod more popular than other portable video players like Creative Zen or the Archos. The video iPod suffers from what I call the "hangover from the previous version" syndrome or you can call it "new wine packed in old bottle." But, it still has hope - Apple needs to get these roadblocks cleared at the earliest. The new video iPod could have wiped out all other portable video players out of the market now, it still can! This is how the movie Grease looks like on a regular video iPod:

Design Makeover
Surprisingly, iPod's size is its greatest strength. If the industrial designers at Apple place the iPod horizontally, iPod can exactly fit a 16:9 screen of 430 x 240 pixels - isn't that incredible? This placement will solve both the problems - size and aspect ratio. See how the new improved iPod can look like (did you see what all you are missing with the regular iPod?):

Oops! Where is the magical click wheel gone? I don't like my iPod without the wheel. Apple can magically get back the click wheel virtually, yes virtually! A circular segment of the screen can be touch sensitive and an image of the click wheel below can appear. This image can appear whenever a human touches the wheel part of the screen. It can magically disappear after some seconds of inactivity. A click wheel can look like this when it appears:

With these improvements, I would like the purchase the iPod and enjoy two full length and full width movies from NY to LA. Is there anyone who can take this up with Mr. Jobs?

Movie screen grabs are from


Muthu Online said...

Neat post Ripul.

Think "Scalable screens" could possibly solve the screen size and screen format issues, in future versions of Video iPod.

Anonymous said...

Very good. I was kind of surprised when the iPod came out that they didn't do something like this.

chirpyBird said...

The latest product from iriver U10. has an interesting interface which is quite close to whats been suggested. The only problem with iriver is for 512mb its expensive stuff.
You may see the flash demo to get experience.

paresh said...

What you said makes so much sense. I have seen a video iPod with a friend and first thing which comes to mind after seeing it is the small screen.

Very interesting article and cool interface suggestions.