The New iPod Shuffle Minimalism at a Whole New Level


Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 — 12:30pm PST
Comments 10

Scanning through Twitter this morning I noticed a trending topic was “New iPod Shuffle” and having given my mother a shuffle last Christmas (and after receiving one as a conference swag item last year at Convergence) I was curious to see the updates to the device.

It’s the smallest iPod ever and is about the size of a USB thumbdrive with 4GB of storage (about 1,000 songs worth). It also has voice over which is an option that tells you what song is playing and who’s performing it.

However, the CNET article sums it up perfectly, “The only problem is I–and a lot of other people–simple can’t use or don’t like the earbuds that ship with iPods. We want to use our own headphones, particularly if we’re using the Shuffle as an “active” MP3 player. The fact is the Apple buds just don’t stay in your ears when you’re running with the Shuffle (and yes, the new smaller form factor should appeal to runners).”

I know I was put off when my first generation iPhone couldn’t use any other ear buds (the connectors didn’t fit without an adapter) so having proprietary headphones for this new Shuffle could definitely be a deterrent.

I’m all for the newest improvements and innovations in technology, and I am definitely and Apple Fan Girl, but do we really need a new iPod each year?

[poll id=”29″]

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10 comments

  1. Robert Finlayson says:

    Maybe Apple should use Feist’s appearance on Sesame Street for the new iPod commercial?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fciD_II7NI

    Classic.

  2. Kevin says:

    That is way too small. Sometimes I feel like I’ll lose my 2nd gen shuffle. I also don’t like how Apple is basically force feeding their crap earbuds down our throats this way.

  3. Kimm says:

    It just looks to small to lose and or break. I have to agree with the headphones part, both of the voices are annoying as hell. I’ll stick with my 2nd gen nano (that I got when my boo was born) or save up and get an itouch.

    Smaller isn’t always better.

  4. Miss604 says:

    I hear ya about the size factor – the only reason I don’t lose my USB thumbdrive is because it’s attached to my keychain.

    The voice technology is actually pretty neat (the way it adds playlists too) but really, I’ve heard so many complaints about the headphones that it’s silly they’d make a device that will only work withe their own.

  5. Jeff says:

    Yes, I definitely need to upgrade my static, no display mp3 player every year so that everyone can see how stylish I am! Just kidding!

    I actually question the motivation of Apple to update their shuffle so drastically each year as it serves no direct purpose…but then anyone who understands the logic behind “The Story of Stuff” knows that it’s just a way to set apart the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’…I wouldn’t dare go running with last years iPod – YUCK! 😛

  6. Jon Jennings says:

    We had a couple of tweet-storms on Twitter today about the new shuffle.

    To my mind, the market for a display-less MP3 player is, at best, pretty limited. Unless you must have Apple, there are similarly tiny players out there that will give you a tiny display – and so raise the level of functionality significantly.

    I’ve been very happy indeed with my 3rd generation nano (“the fatty”) and can’t see that the reduction in size from that to a shuffle would bring anybody any positives whilst obviously bringing with it a lot of negatives.

    And you’re right about the headphones. Not only do they not fit a lot of ears, they’re never going to last forever… and when they break your replacement options are severely limited. No longer are you able to pop into the nearest electronics store and grab whatever-fits-your-budget (and ears) off the shelf.

    Have you heard the voice? Apparently OSX Leopard has some voice support built-in which the shuffle manages to take advantage of. It isn’t a great voice, but it’ll get the point across. But if you’re running Windows or OSX Tiger… as @runforcover said it “sounds like something from The Onion”

  7. Dan says:

    Apple have been walking a trecherous tight-rope for some years now. The balancing act between providing functional simplicity and insulting people’s intelligence is fought over and again with the release of each new Apple product.

    The new Shuffle, sadly falls into the latter category. It tries to solve a problem that never really existed and in doing so creates an even bigger one. There was nothing wrong with having the controls on the device itself because you could clip it anywhere! By taking the controls away Apple have forced people use their own-brand earbuds, even though they suck.

    How have they solved the non-problem of having no screen? They’ve introduced voice-over which sounds like the product of a career outreach program for Stephen Hawking and HAL 9000’s retarded children. I mean come on! At least that is optional.

    On an asthetic note, they’ve not only made the thing look boring by taking away the controls which were quite a nice design feature, they’ve taken away the colour options! Silver and black, jeez, don’t break your imagination bones, guys.

  8. Michelle says:

    I have the oldest fashion of the Ipod Shuffle and to me it is small enough! Is the Ipod company going to keep getting smaller and smaller with their products until we can barely see the gosh darn thing? I will stick to my Ipod Shuffle I have now, I just do not see any point of upgrading and upgrading…

  9. Ian Bell says:

    Our research into eBay’s transaction data over two years shows that Apple probably should have made a pink iPod shuffle. Girls tend to prefer these over more expensive, larger, and more feature-rich MP3 players:

    http://tr.im/hl4w

  10. jny says:

    seriously if u saw how to use this new ipod ud say WTF. they made this thing so compicated to use.
    And seriously 4gb shuffle is $100, thats the same price of a 4gb zune which offers so much more and HAS A SCREEN

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