In an era before multitouch screens, the iPod click wheel was the king of music playback control. Now, a new project from front-end software developer Tanner Villarete has attempted to emulate its classic controls as a web application, with support for your Spotify and Apple Music library.
It’s incredibly simple, using your mouse or finger on a touchscreen to emulate classic commands. You’ll need to sign in using an Apple Music or Spotify account, and then it’s just a matter of using the virtual click wheel to select and listen to a selection of your most listened to artists. It even supports the classic iPod “Cover Flow” interface, letting you browse album art like a jukebox.
Now, there’s obviously a reason modern apps don’t use click wheel interfaces. Using the touch wheel through a phone’s web browser is fine, but on the desktop it’s best to drag a mouse around a virtual circle. ineffective the best. This is the worst when loading the Brick Breaker game clone built into the virtual iPod (which, appendix note, also tears). But like a nostalgic trip down memory lane? Perfection. The project is on GitHub here if you want to take a look.
Apple scrapped the classic iPod design in 2014. It now only sells one iPod-branded device, the iPod Touch, which in hardware terms is actually a dated iPhone with no cellular connectivity, biometric authentication or other modern features. We’d love to see the classic design return, but according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company just couldn’t get the parts anymore.
Let’s just hope Apple doesn’t kill the project like it did Rewound, the music player app that too tried to bring back the classic iPod control scheme.