Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Apple Places High Value on My Opinion

I received an e-mail from Apple today requesting that I fill out an iPod survey.

As a valued customer, your opinions are very important to us. That's why we would greatly appreciate your feedback regarding your iPod. Your participation in this survey will help us to better meet the needs of customers like you.Please click the link below to take the survey. This will take you to an external site hosted by Advanis, an independent marketing research firm we have engaged to perform this study. The information gathered will be for research purposes only, is strictly confidential, and will be used only by Apple. Your personal information and responses will not be shared with anyone.

The survey asked, among other things, the one thing I would like changed about my iPod, how many accessories I've purchased for my iPod, what kind of car I drive, what I think about being able to control my iPod through the steering wheel, the number of iPods in my household, if purchasing/using an iPod made me feel better about Apple, if purchasing/using an iPod made me more likely to buy an Apple computer, how I sync my iPod to my computer, how many songs I have on my iPod, how many songs I have on my computer, the number of songs I have purchased from the iTunes music store, the types of accessories I've purchased for my iPod, how I received my iPod, how I learned to use my iPod, the percentage of music that comes from downloading from the internet (not iTunes music store), ripping from CD, purchasing from iTunes music store, or other.

The survey probably took about 15 minutes and I flew through the questions. If you're curious, the only free form response question asked "what one thing would you change about the iPod?" and I said something like "The menu navigation to shuffle/repeat. The number of required menu traversals to toggle shuffle/repeat is quite high. What's most frustrating is when I am playing a song via a playlist and I want to start shuffle, I have to traverse back-up to the top level to set shuffle and then reverse traverse back down to where I was to the currently playing song (and playlist menu)."

Other things I would like to see:
* be able to play my iPod on many different computers without having to switch the iPod into "manually manage songs and playlists" mode. Ideally, I could play my iPod directly through iTunes on my work and school computers all the while keeping the iPod synched to my home computer. Note that the metadata would then stay up to date and consistent.
* when I play songs on my computer and the same songs on my iPod. The synchronizer should be smart enough to do an intelligent merge of the metadata (e.g. playcount, last played, ratings) and not just an overwrite.
* embed my ratings data (and perhaps other metadata) inside my music files themselves (mp3 id3 tags for instance)
* be able to stream my home computer iTunes library to one other computer at a time with login access.

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