Being a day scholar, I’ve been travelling to my college in the Delhi Metro every morning for about six months now and one of the devices that’s become a significant companion is an iPod Shuffle. Yes, despite the fact that I have a phone that’s capable of playing music, I still use my iPod during a metro ride, and one of the reasons for that is the ease of flipping through songs. While my phone has to stay in the pocket through the ride (Inconvenient to use it in a crowded train), I can keep my iPod with me, clipped to my wrist or shirt and keep listening to my song collection.
iPods haven’t been updated for more than two years now, and it’s no wonder that they might be gone sooner than we know. However, I feel that the iPod might get a new life with the release of the Apple Watch. Being worn on a wrist, the Apple watch could be an extremely easy to use Music player. Moreover, it could even achieve the things that the iPods couldn’t, for example support for music streaming services like Spotify or Beats Music.
One of the key features of the iPods have been the ease of navigating through the songs. Be it the click wheel on the iPod Classic or Nano or be it the easy Shuffle options and Physical buttons for the iPod Shuffle, the ease of Navigating through the songs makes the iPod a very convenient device. Being a wearable, the Apple Watch provides the same control for its music app. iPods have always been a thousand songs in the pocket. That crown was taken by the iPhone sometime ago, but the Apple Watch could well take the throne of the most convenient way of listening to the music.
The prospect of having a thousands songs on my wrist is just as exciting as it was with the iPod. More than the songs, it’s also about the Podcasts, If you are a regular podcast listener, you’ll realise how much do the people listen to them while taking a walk or in a public transport ride and all these tasks are a lot more convenient than on a Watch than on the Phone.
Another Use of the iPod is when people go for their daily fitness regime or a morning walk, most people use their iPhones today, but imagine how much more convenient would it be to just carry your watch with you to the park, the Watch has an extremely capable Health and Fitness app and if it lets people store the music on the Watch, it’d be the perfect replacement for the iPods, giving the wearable comfort of the iPod with the health functionality of the iPhone.
Though not possible with the current SDK, the Apple Watch could in future also provide support for Third Party Music Streaming services to have their own Watch Apps. Giving it that feature of music which the iPod’s have lacked for ages, and something that arguably caused their demise.
A few things still remain unclear at the moment, for example the amount of internal storage that the Watch would have. Lets say, its somewhere around 8GB. How much could be used to let users store their music on it? More importantly, would it provide such an option? One thing which becomes a necessity with the Apple Watch is the need for Bluetooth Headphones, Apple’s got none at the moment but it’s recent purchase Beats by Dr. Dre has an iconic Bluetooth Headphone lineup. Could Apple launch an Apple Branded Solo Bluetooth Headphone? It’s possible but we’ll only know about that once the Watch comes out this year.
Then there are the limitations of the WatchKit, the first Generation of Apple Watches, however powerful they are wouldn’t be able to run certain kinds of Apps and have a very very limited WatchKit, the current Watchkit for example doesn’t allow developers to get Audio access and make Watch Apps for third party music streaming services like Spotify. Having said that, Apple has the Audio access and could possibly make all the music apps it wants to, one for the Music, one for the Podcasts and one for iTunes Radio and Beats Music.
When the Apple Watch comes out in April this year, there’s going to be a huge buzz about the killer app that the Watch has to offer, I think that killer app is their Health App. But an equally important feature for the Apple Watch is going to be its music playback, just because how convenient it is to access music from the wrist and the fact that most people want to listen to music, when they go out for the run. If Apple nails the implementation, the Watch could be the resurrector of the iPod, not as we know it today, but in a much better form. Personally, I wouldn’t ditching my iPod Shuffle for an Apple Watch.