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Early iPod development demystified

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Tue October 24, 2006

Early iPod development

A new book is shedding light on the early development of Apple's iPod digital media player, describing the day-to-day life of Apple employees while the revolutionary device was under development. At every go or no-go checkpoint and on every detail, engineers were told to finish "builds" -- in-process prototypes of software and hardware -- on Fridays rather than the more typical midweek deadlines, according to a report from Forbes.com. "I think [...] they were giving the build to Steve [Jobs], who would take it home for the weekend and play with it," one engineer said. Mondays started with long 'to fix' lists, and "Steve would be horribly offended [if] he couldn't get to the song he wanted in less than three pushes of a button," according to another engineer. Journalist Steven Levy's 'The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness' is a collection of essays about the iPod.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iTunes achilles heel

    ...iTunes has a dirty little secret - in the design requirements perhaps mandated by the record labels - just try getting 80GB of music on an 80GB iPod with a laptop with an 80gb drive?

    I don't think one can !

    It seems if your laptop is full of work & the iPod is the chosen library location, the capacity of the iPod is reduced to HALF because the MP4 files are cryptically named & duplicated in a hidden folder...

    The design only works efficiently using a desktop as the library location...?

    Is Big Brother at it again...

    Without bowing to the iTunes ecosystem, digital lifestyle data management is potentially a really, really messy business...

  1. l008com

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    umm

    To the previous poster... you are choosing your iPod as the iTunes library location, and then resyncing your iTunes library back into the iPod? There is no record label mandates here, you're just doing something really stupid. Think about it. iTunes keeps its own copy of music, then copys that music to your iPod.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    umm

    ...it's not really a sync then is it...?

    ...and actually no there is a whole mix of files from earlier attempts to use default library importing & consolidate itunes library, which seems to duplicate files as well...

    I suggest an iSync like option or better yet just let us see & access the files - no cryptic secondary tier naming...

  1. boomer0127

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    huh?

    bobo, you are wierd. This is digital music. If you have limited space on your computer for transferring music to your iPod, then you have 3 options. 1)Store your music files on an external HD, 2) Turn off autosync and delete the music files from your computer after you transfer them to your iPod, 3) Pay one of those "iPod filler" services to take your CDs and iPod and "fill" it up for you.

    Something tells me if you use option 3, you'll also be able to have the songs on your computer, too. But then that's just an assumption.

    Do any of the WiMP-based players let you store the music on the player and play that same music (other than the little driverless flash sticks, of course)?

  1. trowelblister

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    huh redux

    i have no idea what this guy's talking about. i have an (admittedly) older ipod, only 2G 10 gig. i have 9 gigs of music on my G4 powerbook and 9 gigs of music on the ipod. what's this half stuff? and there's no hidden duplicate folder. and if yer 80gb laptop has music and work, you don't have 80gb of music to put on the ipod anyway :)

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    yup...

    u all make sense, but still don't understand...

    redux: 9g on ipod = 9g on g4 - try 80g on ipod = 80g on lappie OOOPS no more room for work :)

    huh? 1) no external HD (I have the CDs for backup) 2) delete the music files from desktop (works incrementally ONLY - better direct & visible like in desktop itunes music folder) 3) pay a filler service? really? not exactly flexible, convenient or 'personal' as in personal music player...

    Apple is forcing duplication & making work - ideally I'd ALSO like to see the option of perhaps lossless on a high capacity iPod & aac on a space restricted laptop - or perhaps vice versa for those with nanos & high capacity iMacs...

    And just for fun try turning on movie sync while keeping music on manual... I suggest you make a backup first... :)

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Still makes little sense

    Much like (literally) all other MP3 players, iPod works as a device that plays, well, MP3 files (and other formats, for that matter) located on it. The way all of them work is, you have a collection of MP3 files on your computer, you put (some or all of) them on your MP3 player by copying, or synchronising. Actually, technically, this is not exactly true bi-directional Sync, as the files can only move in one direction; it is sync because the files will not be blindly copied if they already exist on the portable device.

    On a completely unrelated subject, if you have a computer with, oh, say, 60 GB hard drive, then it makes little sense to have an MP3 device with 60GB of space. Since at least 7GB on that hard drive will be taken by the operating system (Mac, Win, Linux...), you can only put up to about 53GB of music. This means you will never be able to fill your MP3 device completely, since your computer hard disk has less free space than your MP3 device. Clear enough?

    To conclude, there is no forced duplication; files only reside in one place - your hard disk's iTunes library. When you attach an iPod, files asre cynchronised and only one copy resides on the iPod as well. No duplication of files on the iPod exists. The only difference between iPod and some other MP3 makers is, iPod OS uses its own file structure and naming system to organise its file library. That is not really of any concern for its users, as they never need to dig through the file system anyway; iTunes provides most intuitive and seamless integration between the computer and the iPod.

  1. trowelblister

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    huh redux redux

    yeah yeah yeah, yer laptop hard drive is the same size as yer ipod, so things ain't gonna fit. that's not the point, i mentioned that already (sorta obliquely). the point is there's no hidden duplication of files on the ipod, which cuts capacity in half. the exact same stuff (more or less) in yer itunes library is synced to the ipod. dang, i'm just recapitulating what vasic said, you eyes were bigger than yer stomach (or harddrive) when you dropped $349 for the big boy ipod.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    duplication exists when..

    ...one sets the ipod as the iTunes library location, filling both the 'iTunes Music' folder & the hidden 'iPod_Control' folder...

    ...the hidden folder is described http://www.cnet.com/4520-7899_1-6477981-1.html and http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/34579/138629.html

    The concept that seems to be evading the thread replies is that of using the iPod as a dedicated hifi device, using the lossless codec to rip CDs & have playlists managed by a computer - but not duplicated on the computer...

    ...a reason to purchase a 'big boy' 80GB ipod even if using a G3 laptop with a scanty 6GB HD...

    ...when used as the itunes library location an ipod does needlessly duplicate the music files, and it somehow deleted this ripped music when I turned on 'sync movies', without in my opinion a clear & adequate warning...

  1. NEMMRRC

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    multiple 'puters one iPod

    bobolicious, iPod's ability to behave as removable disk is handy in your case.

    However, it is possible to fill iPod with music from multiple machines (one way manual sync to iPod only). For example, podcasts from desktop, music from laptop and videos from yet a third 'puter. The drawback is that only one device (iPod) contains all of the content.

    If you have yet a fourth 'puter you could transfer all purchased content from iPod to it.

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