Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The iPod Shuffle

Apple, apart from the $500 Mac Mini, announced the iPod shuffle today. The iPod shuffle is a Flash-based iPod in 512MB and 1 GB models, slimmer than a pack of gum, looks cool and costs $99 for the 512MB version, and $149 for the 1GB version. Details at the Apple iPod Store, which is the first URL I've seen that has a telephone number in the URL string (1-800-MY-APPLE)

iPod shuffle

It uses a 12-hour rechargeable battery, has much the same controls as the regular iPod and per the name, has both in order, and shuffle playing. Nothing remarkably new, but Apple is adept at making the commonplace cool. Best of all, it comes with a USB connector, rather than the more arcane Firewire, for non-Mac-o-philes. Accesories include a USB Power Adapter, an AAA-powered battery pack and a dock for syncing/charging via the Mac/PC. Both models weigh .78 ounces and are .33 inches in thickness, or as Apple puts it, ".33 inch thin". There is a lanyard on the side, with a sport case optional extra for protection.

Best of all, like other Flash-based players, it promises skip-free playback, unlike the chance of skipping with a hard-drive based model. It has no display, which is unusual, and may be a pain to deal with. All playlist selection, filling, etc. is done via iTunes on your Mac/PC. A slider at the back of the iPod shuffle allows you to mix up the songs in a random order. iTunes 4.7.1 provides an Autofill mode to fill up your shuffle. Autofill your iPod shuffle for a random mix If all this shuffling around is not enough, you can roll your own playlists and sync them, and then do the shufflestep. (ouch!)


Rapid sales may see this model suffer the fate of backordering a la the iPod Mini, but Apple may have learnt from it's experiences and forecasted demand better. I don't think I'll wait too long for mine.

Side note: Apple is possibly making a branding mistake by not capitalizing the word 'shuffle' in it's marketing for the new product - 'iPod shuffle ' is a mouthful, and contracting it to 'shuffle', lowercase, seems poor copy, textwise. Thus, one could say "I shuffle my shuffle every day". Apple seems to have chosen/neglected to capitalize 'shuffle' - thus we are all messing around with their brand identity every time we write 'iPod Shuffle', as I see most people doing on the web - that's dumb of Apple,IMHO, who could have 'owned' the word if they had capitalized it - We talk of Windows, not windows, unless we mean windows and doors.

Technorati is shuffling the meme, as is Instapundit. Heated Slashdot discussion underway




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