I’ve been speculating a lot leading up to yesterday’s event where Apple announced most of the things we thought they would do. I just want to go over what I predicted and see what happened and what didn’t, and what that means for the new products.
I made some rather outlandish Shuffle predictions, including turning the device into a necklace type product. In the end, it was a pretty simple refresh. They responded to customer complains over the lack of buttons on the last version, and brought them back accordingly. Where the 2nd gen shuffle had a gap to the side of where the buttons were positioned, this one has seemingly no wasted space. The buttons are also 18% bigger to make them as easy as possible to press. Most importantly, they’ve decided to scrap the 4gb version and focused on having a lower capacity, and more importantly, lower priced player designed to have music swapped around every time you sync.
£39 isn’t as cheap as I would have hoped, but it’s still good and it’s almost . One of the problems with last year’s shuffle was that because the device had no buttons on the device itself to control playback, you were restricted to using the pretty poor default headphones unless you bought a special adapter but that wasn’t ideal. Now, the controls are all on the device itself, including a special new button to control the voice over feature, leaving you free to use any headphones you like, which is nice.
I could actually see myself getting a shuffle at some point as a dedicated podcast or audiobook player, or maybe just to load up a few favourite tracks to listen to when I’m out. It’s so light and simple to use that it’s perfect for wearing while jogging. I don’t know if I trust the clip to keep it securely fitted to clothing and I would probably opt for putting it in a pocket instead.
Another reason why it’s ideal for going out is because I’ve taken my 1st gen iPod Touch out in my pocket many times, practically daily and it is a bit bulky considering I often have my pockets loaded up with my phone, keys, wallet and a pedometer sometimes as well. Not only would using a shuffle save me pocket space and weight but it would also keep my new touch from getting it’s screen slightly scratched as my current one has been.
My brother won a 2nd gen shuffle on a crane game at an amusement park a couple of years ago, and it’s great. It’s 1gb which is ideal especially if I’m only going to have one piece of audio on it at a time. The clip is a disaster though, it got bent badly and won’t go back to it’s original shape. It still clips but not well. The worst part is that the charging dock is designed so that if the device is bent at all, it won’t fit unless you really force it. They fixed this in the more recent models by using simply a cable instead of a dock. I’m glad they’ve solved this problem now as the clips are very easily ruined. I personally would have preferred the clip to be optional, similar to the old iPod Mini which had a plastic clip that you could fit when you required it.
Overall I do like the new shuffle and like the product line in general as I feel it still fills a niche in the market, especially as the price lowers.