An iPod from 2004 is streaming Spotify in 2021 all thanks to software genius Guy Dupont. In a 15-minute-long YouTube video, Dupont takes his 17-year-old iPod through a hacking journey that all of us iPod lovers, including myself, will appreciate.
To be clear, Dupont isn't doing anything legally sketchy in his video. It's not like jailbreaking an iPhone or sidestepping any other hardware rules, in case you were wondering (I was). The software lead at Pison Technologies, whose GitHub page can be viewed here, essentially gutted the audio player from yesteryear to make this magic happen. Here's what we gleaned from his demonstration.
iPod Classic becomes Spotify streaming device — Dupont replaced Apple's original hardware with a Raspberry Pi Zero W, which explains the visual tweaking. The click wheel remains (though the signature click sound is swapped in with haptic feedback, it seems in the video), and the LCD display gets the Spotify green and black treatment. Dupont used Python to recreate his iPod's scrolling interface.
What makes Dupont's hack even more impressive is that not only does his classic iPod carry his favorite songs, saved albums, and artists, it also has a regularly updated list of new music. "You can even search the entire Spotify catalog," Dupont adds.
Placed next to a Bluetooth speaker, Dupont's iPod can search songs for you. Of course, the interface doesn't have the little details of a Spotify homepage but that actually works in favor of the hacked iPod. You won't find information about how many times a song was played, for example. But it's this bare-faced simplicity that makes the upgrade even more enjoyable and quite creative.
Can anyone try this? — We think so. Dupont offers a rather in-depth look inside how he swapped up his iPod's hardware down to details about the kind of battery he needed to use (he says it's heavier than the original one because of the amount of work the hacked iPod will do now, but that's an expected change).
The last time I used my iPod was 60,000 years ago. In the meantime, I turn to Spotify and other streaming apps to get my dose of songs, podcasts, and some radio in. But Dupont's experiment is inspiring enough for me to bring the Apple relic out of the grave and breathe some life into it. Neutral Milk Hotel, here I come.