Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The iPod Shuffle killer app

I love my iPod Shuffle. Initially it was because it was cheap. Eventually, though, I grew to love its tininess (about the size of a large postage stamp). It fits anywhere and is as easy to transport as lint in your pocket.

There's one terrible sacrifice, though. Because there's no display, you have no idea what song is playing, unless you recognize it. Which can make you crazy, especially if you like the song and want to remember its name and who sings it.

Pondering this limitation during a cross-country flight last week, I had an epiphany. As a favor to all other Shuffle customers, I am presenting this to Apple FREE OF CHARGE so they can fix this problem without paying me a huge royalty.

Update the Shuffle's software so that, if a certain button combination is pressed (perhaps skip and pause simultaneously), the mp3 tag--the information containing song title, artist, album, etc.--is read aloud. Then return to the song.

It's a beautiful fix, so beautiful that there must be some fatal flaw in it. But go ahead, Apple. Fix the only thing wrong with the Shuffle, and you'll sell tens of millions more.

(If you do feel inclined to pay a small honorarium for this insight, I would graciously accept it.)