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Remote Control

Originally written on: October 16, 2005 at 8:06 pm

Last Updated: October 16, 2005 at 8:06 pm

[wdgpo_plusone]

So Apple released a new iMac G5 that has a built in iSight, and remote control. While the idea of a built-in iSight is pretty spiffy, it’s not very useful when you want to use it the way most people will want to use it —for porn. The remote is also pretty spiffy, but they botched that as well.

The remote control is simple, elegant, and refined. It has a striking resemblance to the iPod shuffle. But it’s all wrong. They should have made the remote similar to the nano. What’s the difference? The all-powerful clickwheel. I currently have a library of tens of thousands of songs (large former CD collection), and there is no way I am going to click-click-click my way down the artist list, or the song list. I am sure Apple has thought of that by adding a “click and hold to scroll quickly” feature into Front Row. However, it’s still digital. Click once, and go down one line. Click and hold, and go down very quickly. On. Off.

This is why the clickwheel is so superior. With the clickwheel, the iPod will accelerate the scrolling logarithmically, depending on the speed in which I skim the clickwheel. I have the option of going slow, fast, faster, blinding, and “warp speed”. The shuffle interface isn’t so bad when you have a very limited number of songs. However, the remote is effectively controlling a giant iPod the size of an iMac, and should act accordingly.

The screen on an iMac is much larger than the screen on the iPod. One would think that Apple would figure out a way around the most annoying problem with their iPod —the truncation of information. The tour of the application shows this problem most clearly when you click on “Audiobooks”. It’s great that Harry Potter is in my library, but at which story am I looking? Which chapter? The iMac 20″ has a screen resolution large enough to display a good amount of text at 24 points. Why, then, do we not have the option of showing this information on the screen? While I will say the interface as a whole is very nice, it lacks the polish I’ve appreciated in Apple’s early days of UI engineering.

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