Q: Is there a way to make the iPod show albums in the order in which they were released instead of showing them alphabetically?
A: Unfortunately, the iPod has not yet gained a feature comparable to iTunes’ “Album by Year” sort method (accessible by repeatedly clicking the “Album” list header). However, we can easily replicate this behavior in a playlist by taking advantage of iTunes’ ability to sort this way, and the fact that iTunes’ playlist sort orders synchronize directly to the iPod.
Begin with a smart playlist that collects all albums from a given artist:
Then, repeatedly click the album header in this playlist, to sort with the “Album by Year” feature. Then, synchronize this playlist to the iPod.
Clearly, limitations exist with this method. First, this only works for a specific artist, and you’ll have to individually create playlists for any artist you’re interested in doing this for. Second, all playlists on the iPod display as simple lists of tracks; you won’t be able to hierarchically traverse albums here, as you are able to do elsewhere in the iPod’s interface.