Where are the iPhone's iPod improvements?

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Coverage of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 2.0 software has focussed largely on networking and enterprise features as well as third-party applications. Very little, however, has been said of the iPhone as iPod other than that the iPhone 3G brings “improved audio” (and that may apply only to its phone functions) and offers a flush headphone jack rather than one that’s recessed. While it’s quite possible that improvements to the iPhone’s iPod functionality will come as well, Apple’s keeping quiet about any that may soon exist.

With that in mind, I’d like to revisit a few of the iPhone’s iPod features that could use some improvement.

A2DP support The second-generation iPhone does not include support for A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), a technology for streaming stereo audio over a Bluetooth connection. Such support would be welcomed not only by those who’d like to use wireless stereo headphones with their iPhone, but also people seeking a better wireless solution in their cars than an FM transmitter.

Queued podcasts The iPod classic and 3G iPod nano will play episodes of the same podcast in succession. For example, if you’ve added the three most recent episodes of the Macworld Podcast to one of these iPods, select the first episode in the list, and press Play, when that episode concludes, the next begins playing. Currently, the iPhone and iPod touch won’t. Just as with older iPods, when an episode concludes, you’re taken back to that podcast’s screen. To play the next episode, you must tap it. This is most inconvenient when you’re driving as you have to pull your eyes from the road to view the iPhone’s screen and select the episode you want. A traditional iPod’s clickwheel and audible clicks allow you to do this same kind of thing by feel.

Video playlists A post on TUAW claims that video playlists are part of the iPhone 2.0 software and I hope that’s correct. I get the occasional complaint from those who treasure music videos expressing frustration that they can’t create playlists of their videos. Perhaps this complaint will be addressed.

Single On-The-Go playlist On a “traditional” iPod I have the option to create multiple On-The-Go playlists. Just select an item such as an artist, song, album, or playlist, press and hold Center, and that item and its contents are added to the On-The-Go playlist. Scroll to the bottom of that playlist, choose Save, confirm that save in the next screen, and the playlist is saved as New Playlist 1 (or 2, 3, 4, etc, for succeeding saved playlists). The iPhone and iPod touch allow you to create just a single On-The-Go playlist. You can, however, edit this playlist by adding or removing items from it.

Song search I rarely use my traditional iPod’s Search feature—the one where I scroll through an alphanumeric pane and click selected characters—because I find it clumsy. The iPhone and iPod touch, however, have a virtual keyboard that would make searching for specific tracks a cinch. Currently, song search isn’t supported on these devices.

That’s my list. What additional functionality would you like to see brought to the iPhone’s iPod component?

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