Free web music app imitates iPod Classic click wheel

Tanner Villarete's free music player web app simulates the classic iPod click wheel.
Tanner Villarete’s free music player web app simulates the iPod Classic click wheel.
Photo: Tanner Villarete

The iPod’s iconic click wheel had a good run, launching in 2004 with the iPod mini. It joined the fourth-generation iPod’s design later that year. It even auditioned in the odd product concept over the years. Finally, in 2014, the company phased it out with the iPod Classic.

But nothing great is gone forever, as a free new web music player app shows.

The classic iPod click wheel is never really gone

The scrolling hardware so many people enjoyed spinning over the years has returned with developer Tanner Villarete‘s free web app, iPod.js. The Seattle-based software engineer’s app imitates the look and feel of the iPod Classic click wheel.

The app integrates with Apple Music and Spotify. Just use your mouse or your finger to navigate to Sign in and gain access to your account’s library.

After that, you can use the virtual click wheel to make musical selections. The app even supports the iPod’s classic “Cover Flow” interface. It lets you flip through album covers like you would on a jukebox.

Change up the look

The web app’s interface incorporates different skins with different looks. There’s silver, black and a red-and-black “U2 Edition” that really brings back a sense of the music of yore that folks loved in the early years of this century.

An emulator for the old click-wheel game Brick, incorporated into Villarete’s app, helps trigger nostalgia, too.  Originally invented by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Brick was a hidden feature on the first-ever iPod. (It was also known as Brick Breaker.)

For best results, use a touchscreen device

Villarete’s site works in any web browser. But for the best experience, try using a touchscreen device. It will give you more of the tactile effect that will trigger nostalgia for the old Apple hardware.

If you’d like to have a look at Villarete’s code for the project, you can see it on GitHub.

Now let’s hope Apple doesn’t take issue with the project, as it did with a similar music player app called Rewound, as The Verge reported.