Next to my ongoing desire for a podcast delete function, the next-most glaring problem I have had with the iPhone and iPod Touch’s iPod playback functionality is its janky fast-forwarding and rewinding (also known as ‘scrubbing’).
The two most common scrubbing issues I have with my iPhone are when I want: (i) to skip back , say 10 seconds, to re-listen to something i missed – like I can with TiVo’s instant replay button; and (ii) to jump forward past podcast commercials – I can only listen to so many Audible ads on the Twit Network.
Scrubbing with the scroll wheel on iPods is a breeze. (See this ‘How to Scrub on Your iPod’ video, depicted in the picture on the right, for example.) You can easily jump back and forth to the exact desired spot within the song, podcast or video you are consuming by moving your thumb clockwise or counterclockwise on the scroll wheel as shown in the picture.
There is no scroll wheel on the iPhone or the iPod Touch. Instead, there is tiny round selector (see image above) on a small 1.25” horizontal scroll bar that you slide left and right to move around your media. This provides decent accuracy for short items such as a 3 minute song. For longer-form content, such as multi-hour podcasts and movies, the 1.25” scroll bar is too small to accurately select any given point of play. I personally consume long-form content the most. Such clumsy scrubbing has often left me 5 to 10 minutes away from the place I want to be.
The solution, variable speed scrubbing.