“The iPod Photo is living proof that a device can’t serve two masters. The color screen is great, but the iPod can’t really offer a great photo experience with its small screen, recycled music interface, lack of a camera and poor photo-management features. Our advice? Stay focused on music. Keep the color screen–and keep enhancing digital music with iTunes Music Store franchises, podcasts and music subscriptions,” Ted Schadler and Josh Bernoff, Forrester Research Analysts, write for CNET News.

We’ve been living with iPod Photo for three months now. At first, we loved the addition of photos to the music player–the wow factor alone was reason enough to upload photos. But the more we carried the device around, the more we realized two things:

1. The color screen does make the iPod music experience better. Let’s face it: Everything looks better in color. And so does the iPod. Text, navigation and album cover art look great and extremely familiar to those used to working on a PC or Mac. The color screen makes menus more readable, photos displayable and the music experience more delightful.

2. Alas, a color screen by itself does not a great photo experience make. Though the iPod Photo is a fine way to drag a bunch of pictures around to show friends, it’s clear Apple Computer kept the focus on music–not photos. There’s no camera, the screen is tiny, the iTunes synchronization is clunky, the lack of on-the-go photo album creation is annoying, and (for power users) the file structure is tedious. Of course, you can plug the iPod Photo into a television and click through a slide show, but you’re limited to the slide shows already on the device–and you can’t edit them without going back to your computer.

Schadler and Bernoff write, “Instead of adding myriad photo features to the iPod Photo to try to overcome its multifunction challenges, Apple should keep the color screen and basic photo functions; revamp the iPod Photo advertising to emphasize how photos enhance the music experience; and get on with the business of improving the digital music experience.”

Schadler and Bernoff present five ideas to kick-start things in Cupertino in their full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple updates iPod photo packaging, de-emphasizes ‘photo’ – February 24, 2005