Some of the iPod and iPhone ideas were mine!

So, if you have ideas for apple products you’re welcome to submit those ideas. But, if you want them to look at your ideas without putting them in the garbage then you have to agree that all of your ideas become Apple’s ideas.

I want the products that I use to be great, so I’m always ready to provide feedback and suggestions for free, so I agreed that my ideas would belong to apple.

Idea #1 was implemented in the iPod firmware EXACTLY as I proposed it, and if you had a 5G iPod you know that it didn’t do this originally and was added later through a software update. I don’t want money and I don’t need any credit, but it would be nice… especially in the form of a 3G iPhone when available (you can have my non-3G iPhone back).

I should note that looking back, some of these ideas are terrible… but apparently 3 of them were good enough. Here’s the document that I sent Apple:


Dear Apple

I have read the unsolicited ideas verbiage and I agree all my ideas become property of Apple.

I appreciate apple products for their intuitive design and usability, but here are some short comings.

1. Backlighting should be adjustable, just like on my laptop. When I am in a dark room and I don’t want to blow out my eyes, or when I want to compromise brightness to save battery power I can dim the screen. My iPod should do the same, that will give me more power to watch movies during travel. I propose if the center button is clicked again after the shuttle/scrub state then the wheel will be in backlight dimming state.

2. The back of the ipod should have a belt clip/stand that can be deployed in a way that it will sit upright on an airplane seatback table to watch movies without having to hold it. This could be an accessory but it would be nice if it was built in or at least included.

3. iTunes should allow me to flag content and re-organize which folder it will appear in on my iPod.

4. While listening to music, there should be a built in trippy video or real time rendered visualization I can watch or use to show off how great the screen is on the iPod.

5. The next generation iPod should have a 16:9 screen ratio. When I hold it vertically, the screen is much taller than wide for easy grip and click wheel usage, but when I want to watch a movie I can turn it sideways and it will flip the screen. My Nikon digital camera has a mercury switch it in to sense which way I’m holding it, the next iPod should do the same to take advantage of a wide screen and still offer the comfort of the current generation while browsing music.

6. It would also be amazing if the next generation could be the same size as my 5G except with the entire front a wide screen / touch panel. Click wheel goes touch wheel… sweet. That could open the doors for a lot of other applications, like a full QWERTY onscreen keyboard for typing emails and text messages on the go. Even if it just acted as a Bluetooth keyboard for my cell phone.

7. A built-in camera to capture video and snapshots would be awesome. This could be an accessory.

8. Support for flash lite, (adobe/macromedia’s) flash’s mobile display engine would guarantee a bunch of really cool applications could be built for the iPod. The most obvious would be skinning the UI. Even proprietary apple UIs that could be bought at the iTunes store. People pay for cell phone ring tones to customize their phone, they’ll do the same to customize/personalize their ipod interface.

8. The next generation nano should be the same size as a PCMCIA card and fit into that slot for charging/docking/protection/transportation/removable storage.
Thinking Different…

– Chad Upton

11 thoughts on “Some of the iPod and iPhone ideas were mine!

  1. Hey Chadster,

    If you agree all ideas become Apple’s, then WTF are you complaining about?

    Also how do you know you were first to send these ideas to Apple? How do you know Apple didn’t already have these in train LONG BEFORE you sent them? You sound like a whiner, dude.

    Oh, Apple stole my ideas, cry cry cry… bwahahahahah… I didn’t see YOU inventing any iPhones, buster.

    Ah well. There’s always a “Chad” out there somewhere trying to ride on the coattails of the great Steven P. Jobs.



  2. Do you really think that these ideas were not already being investigated/implemented when you submitted your ideas? Do you have any idea how mong it takes to integrate functionality into a SW feature’s set? Let alone adapt the HW? I bet these feature upgrades were already part of the Long Range Plan, and I seriously doubt you “inventions” impacted what was already in the works.

    Not to mention I think Jobs HAS to have his name on the patent because it is under Apple.

  3. Congratulations, you were 1 of the 10,000 people who all thought the same thing. The only thing you did was make the design team waste their time reading one more annoying letter from idiots thinking they have unique/creative ideas. Leave the design work to the engineers.

  4. Thanks for your feedback everyone. I fully admit that there is a small chance that my ideas were actually used, but you have to admit some of them are a big coincidence.

    For example, the back light setting on the iPhone is completely different from the setting on the 5G iPod and in fact in makes more sense on the iPhone (in a menu) but on the 5G iPod it was done exactly how I suggest, even though there was probably a better place for it.

    As an enterprise developer, I am aware of how long it takes for ideas to get into production… frankly, there are times it doesn’t really take that long (weeks) — other times it takes years.

    @AK. Wow, if that’s your attitude about customer feedback then I hope I never own or use anything you are involved in… whatever it is you do surely sucks if you don’t get feedback from real-world users outside of your test groups.

    As for the guy pretending to be Steve Jobs… I can hear your Australian accent all over that post (or at least your Australian IP address).

    – Chad

  5. well at least that was when I presented it as a touch screen model of a different thing with discription of being usefull as a phone

  6. It seems possible that they looked at your work, but I’m sure that you were not the only person to think of many of these.

  7. Dudes!!!

    Leave Chad alone you hate-filled, self-loathing bitter people! You sound like my grandpa! Good on Chad for writing to Apple with his ideas, that’s how good companies figure out what people want. I’m sure he knows there were a million other people with ideas similar to his but who cares. The more feedback Apple gets, the more they make products that work. There haven’t been too many technology companies that have hit the mark when it comes to user-friendly products. Get a life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *