StreetDeck's iPod compatibility provides basic song playback from any Windows-formatted iPod.
The user is presented with a list of all the songs on the iPod. Each song displays the title, artist and track length. Click any song to start playing.
Playback is controlled by gestures. Some skins may also have a CiPodOverlay, which would show playback controls on-screen; but the default StreetDeck skin does not have that overlay, so no playback controls are shown. A skin
Not currently supported:
- iTunes must be installed.
- Playback of DRM-protected songs requires the user to go through the authorization process in iTunes.
- Mac-formatted (HFS+ filesystem) iPods
- Advanced navigation (such as by Artist, Album, or Genre)
- Album art
- iTunes Library access
- iPod playback is not integrated with other StreetDeck Music library features, such as Now Playing or the Queue
- It may be theoretically possible to use MacDrive or a similar HFS+ driver to make Mac-formatted iPods playable in Windows, but this is unconfirmed. Particularly problematic is the fact that the iTunes application has lower-level access to the device, and so it may continue to deem the iPod inaccessible because of its known Mac-ness, despite the fact that Windows could read the drive via MacDrive.
- Documents exist on the internet that describe the format of the iPod database. With some development effort it would be possible to write custom routines to read the iPod database and bypass iTunes entirely, saving significant runtime overhead. Playback would then be through QuickTime, which has a much smaller footprint than iTunes. iTunes would still have to be used to authorize any DRM-protected songs, but once the songs are authorized they can be played in QuickTime as well.
- Integrating iTunes with the Queue would require a significant rewrite of the Music manager. The music queue would have to be managed internally rather than by Windows Media Player.
Q: If it is a PC formatted iPod, won't the OS be able to play non-DRM music off the device just like it was a removable disk?
A: Theoretically, yes, the music can be pulled directly from the removable disk. However there are some caveats:
- The music is stored in a hidden folder called iPod_Control, which, being hidden, would not show up on the removable disk browser.
- The MP3s could be natively played by Windows Media Player, but not the M4A (AAC-encoded) files.
- The files are not organized in a human-friendly way. The organization of the files is designed for easy access by the iPod firmware, which of course can read the iPod database and make sense of it all.
- In order to navigate the files by title or some other attribute that makes sense to a human, StreetDeck would either have to (a) pre-scan every file in the iPod_Control tree looking for metadata, or (b) read the iPod database, which has all the metadata in it, neatly organized.
Thus if you want to ditch iTunes and play back the files directly, you need to use QuickTime for playback (so you can play both MP3 and M4A files) and you need to be able to read the iPod database (so you don't spend eternity scanning the files for metadata).