There hasn’t been much attention paid to the iPod since the iPhone arrived, and that’s a crime, because it was a brilliantly simple device with a wonderful user interface. To help make it relevant again, Guy Dupont gave a 17-year-old iPod a much-needed upgrade with the ability to wirelessly stream Spotify so that it plays music once again without ever needing to be connected to iTunes.
But this is not a hack akin to jailbreaking an iPhone and side-loading some custom software to add more functionality. Even the last models of the larger-sized iPod Classic lacked wireless capabilities, so to upgrade a 17-year-old iPod to access Spotify required Dupont to gut everything inside the MP3 player except the iconic click wheel on the front.
In place of Apple’s original hardware, Dupont swapped in a Raspberry Pi Zero W that he was able to interface with the click wheel, a replacement colour LCD display, a small motor to add haptic feedback, and a 1000 mAh rechargeable battery. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of room inside a 17-year-old device for modern highly miniaturized electronics.
With all of Apple’s original hardware gone, Dupont also had to completely recreate the iPod’s scrolling user interface from scratch using Python. While his modernised iPod can now play almost any digital audio format out there, its ability to wirelessly access the entire Spotify library, including search capabilities, is what makes this hack stand out. Aside from the green and black Spotify colour theme on screen, this iPod looks like it’s straight from an Apple store in some neighbouring dimension where the iPhone never came to be.