The next new gadget that I got is my favorite new gadget by far. This is my shiny black 60GB iPod video! Time for a little review.
The iPod is impressively small and light. The 60GB 5G iPod is slimmer than my old 4G 40GB iPod. This size improvement solves my biggest gripe about the old 60GB iPod Photo. That thing was just too fat to be useable. (Not to mention expensive).
The screen is large, bright, and very easy on the eyes. There is ample room for menus, album art, the little games that come with it, etc. The video playback is also quite good. There is a very slight delay (1-2 seconds) between the time you select a video to play and when it starts playing. This is different from the music playing, which seems to have no delay. The delay is not bad though. I've been searching for free video content to put on it, and I'm discovering an impressive selection of free video out there for the taking. I'll cover more of that in a later blog.
Now for my gripes about the new iPod...
Video organization features are sorely lacking. While there are plenty of ways to organize music on it (by artist, by album, by genre, by podcast, etc.) there is very little of this for video. About all you have for video are: music videos, TV shows, video podcasts and 'movies'. With the exception of 'movies' these are largely 'canned' categories that are out of your control. They are filled up by stuff you download from iTunes, whether it be paid content (music videos and TV shows) or free content (video podcasts). Everything else gets lumped into the 'movies' category. If you have a large collection of videos that you've put on the iPod from other sources, they all get stuck into one big list. It can be hard to find the video you are looking for from this big list. All this list shows is basically the filename of the video, minus the extension. Since videos often have pretty obscure filenames, it makes it hard to find things. It does not appear that the iPod takes into consideration any of the meta-data on the videos. Where is the ability to list by artist? Where is the ability to list by 'album'? Where is the ability to list by genre? All these types of metadata can be set in iTunes on the videos themselves. Why is this missing? I suspect that this problem will be fixed by a firmware upgrade soon. (January 10th perhaps?)
There is no developer API at all for the iPod (of any generation). Why??? This thing has a beautiful, full color screen. I can imagine a lot of ways that large color screen and large capacity HD (60GB!) could be put to good use. I can imagine many, many more games developed for the iPod. I can imagine a nice e-book reader using that big screen. I can imagine adding the ability to play other video and audio codecs to the iPod (Plays for Sure, Ogg Vorbis, Divx etc.) The new iPod has a screen resolution equal to the resolution on a standard TV. Think about all those classic arcade games that could be ported to the iPod. There are millions of these things out there! That's an instant market for selling new software that Apple has a monopoly on! Come on Apple! Take a page from the Microsoft book and release an add-on to XCode that allows this. There are games provided with the iPod, so there must exist internal to Apple an API for this. Release this API to the public! I can see this API potentially putting every other PDA (Palm, Windows Mobile) out of business in short order.
Poor separation between video content and audio content. This is as much a gripe with iTunes as it is with the iPod. In iTunes 6.0, you can create a playlist which contains both video and audio files. I think this is a mistake. Video and audio podcasts are separated. Playlists should be too. Granted, iTunes does warn you if you try to do this, but it still allows it. It should not.
No subfolders in playlists. Again, this is an iTunes as much as iPod gripe. Why is it you can organize your playlists in subfolders in iTunes and yet when you copy them to the iPod, they all end up in one great big list? You should be able to create subfolders for your playlists in iTunes as well.
iTunes is a poor name for the app now. It manages more than just 'tunes' now. It manages video as well. Maybe rename it to 'iMedia' or something like that. Also, whenever you copy video to the iPod using iTunes, it still says 'Copying Songs...'. That should be changed to 'Copying Media' or separate messages saying 'Copying Songs', 'Copying podcasts', 'Copying video', and 'Copying video podcasts'...