In an era before multitouch displays, the iPod’s click wheel was the king of music playback control. Now, a new project from frontend software developer Tanner Villarete has attempted to emulate its classic controls as a web app, complete with support for your Spotify and Apple Music library.
It’s fantastically simple, using your mouse or finger on a touchscreen to emulate the classic controls. You’ll need to sign in using an Apple Music or Spotify Account, and then it’s a simple case of using the virtual click wheel to select and listen to a selection of your most listened-to artists. It even supports the iPod’s classic “Cover Flow” interface, letting you to flip through album covers like a jukebox.
Now, obviously there’s a reason why modern apps don’t use click wheel interfaces. Using the touch-sensitive wheel via a phone’s web browser feels ok, but on desktop having to drag a mouse around a virtual circle feels inefficient at best. It’s at its worst when loading up the virtual iPod’s built-in Brick Breaker game clone (which, sidenote, also rips). But as a nostalgic trip down memory lane? Perfection. The project is on GitHub here if you want to have a poke around.
Apple killed off the classic iPod design in 2014. It now sells just one iPod branded device, the iPod Touch, which in terms of hardware is effectively 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 simply 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 also attempted to bring back the iPod’s classic control scheme.